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Schuman redevelopment can finally go ahead after years of public consultation
The ambitious redevelopment of Brussels’ Schuman roundabout can finally begin after years of public consultation and adjustments to the plans, according to the region’s state secretary of urban development Ans Persoons (Vooruit.brussels).
"Schuman was a roundabout tailor-made for cars – now there will be a square for everyone in the heart of the European quarter," Persoons said.
“It will be a new symbol of Europe in Brussels and highlights that the European Quarter is evolving into a mixed neighbourhood on a human scale.”
The first plans for the roundabout’s makeover were introduced eight years ago, but the process went slowly because Schuman sits at the crossroads of multiple competencies: weighing in were two mayors (Brussels-City and Etterbeek), a regional minister (mobility), a secretary of state (urban planning), the minister-president for the Brussels region and a federal minister (responsible for Beliris).
Those initial plans have undergone several transformations since their introduction, particularly when it comes to adding more greenery and easier access for people with reduced mobility, but now urban.brussels has issued the necessary modification permit and construction manager Beliris can start construction.
The new city square will be a roundabout-shaped space with stairs and a modern steel canopy with green roof under which visitors and residents can relax. The design took into account activities and events that should be able to take place there in a convenient manner.
There will be a large pedestrian zone with benches, bushes and almost 100 trees. Car traffic will be restricted to one side of the roundabout - from Avenue de Cortenbergh towards Rue de la Loi - and the Petite Rue de la Loi towards the Cinquantenaire Park will be given a facelift in order to make the walk between the park and the EU buildings more pleasant. A safe, ochre-coloured cycle path will connect these two axes.
The project was included in the federal government's recovery plan, which means it can count on €21 million in European funds towards a total cost of an estimated €25 million. While works will begin this year, the approximate date of completion has not yet been determined.
“Planted with trees, pedestrianised and equipped with cycle paths, the new Schuman roundabout illustrates our ambition and that of the European institutions to transform cities into places of destination, life, greenery and encounters,” Persoons said.
“Thanks to this project, Brussels is increasingly asserting its status as the Capital of Europe.”
Mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen) echoed the optimism. “Consultation and collective intelligence have done their job, and I am delighted,” she said.
“We now have a project for a square that is greener and more user-friendly, safer for pedestrians and cyclists and more accessible for people with reduced mobility.
"These improvements will enable the square to fulfil its role as the heart of Europe, while providing a peaceful and pleasant place to live for local residents.”