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Brussels slows down motorists

Driving in the Belgian capital should no longer be fun. The speed limit in the entire city centre is the first step to deter drivers and significantly reduce traffic.

The streetscape in Brussels is to change significantly by 2030. As a first step, a full 90 percent of Brussels city centre has been part of the speed 30 zone since 01 January 2021. Only on some major roads and the Brussels ring road will speed limits of 50 and even 70 km/h continue to be permitted. The Green Minister for Mobility, Elke Van den Brandt, sees this measure as a first step to banish car drivers more and more from the city: "Car drivers should simply no longer feel welcome in the city".

Last year, the city had already declared the area inside the ring a priority zone for pedestrians and cyclists. Thus, from May onwards, a speed limit of 20 km/h applied in the city centre area for three months. At the time, Brussels Mayor Philippe Close spoke of a "vélorution".

Overall, the traffic turnaround in Brussels is to create significantly more space for pedestrians and cycle paths by 2030. Traffic is to be calmed down, above all to reduce traffic accidents and make the air cleaner for residents of the metropolis. More controls by new radar stations and the police are to make life more difficult for drivers. Van den Brandt hopes to reduce traffic by up to 30 percent.

The trend in Brussels is thus clear: car drivers are no longer wanted. The cityscape is to change. More people are to cycle and walk. The debate about newer cars, such as Euro6 vehicles and electric cars, and diesel driving bans therefore plays no role here. Whether the 30 km/h zone can bring about the desired change, or whether stricter measures or even car-free zones will ultimately have to be introduced to force cars out of the city, remains to be seen. What is clear is that the grace period for car drivers in Brussels is over.