Brussels to scrap 65.000 on-street parking spaces
One of the objectives of the plan is to ease congestion in the city. But does that work? The number of parking spaces has already been reduced, from 293.000 in 2005. But the overall number remains high, one space for every five inhabitants. And congestion hasn’t decreased.
“In a city that leaves a lot of space for cars, an abundant parking offer makes it easier for people to use their car,” says ULB university researcher Frédéric Dobruszkes. “I’m not convinced limiting the number of parking spaces will make traffic more fluid. That depends on how the freed-up space is used. If you transform a road with two lanes and two parking lanes into two lanes and a dedicated space for trams and bikes, you will have fewer cars on the street but still congestion during rush hours.”
Michel Hubert, Mobility professor at the Université Saint-Louis: “There are different reasons to want to scrap parking spaces. Creating more public space for leisure (terraces, kids’ play areas, green space), but also free up space for alternative forms of transport to circulate.” Hubert doesn’t see an automatic link between less parking and less congestion. “What you need to do, and the ‘Good Move’ plan does it well, is work on the idea of car possession. You need to find ways to encourage people to no longer own a private vehicle. Otherwise, they have a natural tendency to use it.”
Meanwhile, several questions remain. Which neighborhoods will be affected, residential or mostly office areas? Which tariffs for parking will be used? And how can the measure be applied to public roads? A political problem awaits.