Flanders: separate highway parking lots for cars and trucks
Flemish Minister of Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open VLD), is allocating 10 million over the next five years to rebuild and better secure highway car parks. In the first phase, seven car parks will be constructed, but N-VA urges the minister to speed up this process and to focus on car parks affected by transmigrants.
Different parking types
Highway car parks are bursting at the seams because Belgium, as a transit country, has to deal with a large number of trucks whose drivers have to respect their driving and rest times and, therefore, stop at such car parks. Apart from that, these car parks have to contend with transmigrants hoping to be able to hide in a semi-trailer to make the crossing to Great Britain unseen.
Lydia Peeters sees three different types: car parks for commuters and tourists, for freight transport, and double use. Cars and trucks will not be forbidden to stop in car parks, but the minister wants to encourage them to park in the adapted zones. There they will also invest specifically in security, with a fence and more cameras.
Quick action desired
Over the next five years, budgets are planned to adapt to the highway car parks in Jabbeke, Gentbrugge, Rekkem, Marke, Groot-Bijgaarden, Boutersem, and Tienen. “The ultimate goal is to make the car parks more uniform because now the layout is different everywhere,” says Veva Daniels of the Agency for Roads and Traffic (AWV), which manages part of the car parks. According to the N-VA party, the adaptation goes not fast enough. “For the time being, the Minister does not foresee any extra funds, so it might take 15 to 20 years before the other car parks will also be adapted,” Flemish MP, Maaike De Vreese, adds.
On a local level, resistance also arises. In Jabbeke, for example, work is being done to triple the number of places for trucks, to the dismay of Mayor Daniël Vanhessche (CD&V), who is even threatening to close down the car park. Mannekensvere’s car park in Middelkerke will eventually become a car park specifically for trucks – although cars will remain welcome there – but, for the time being, there is no budget to make it more secure.