Flanders to invest €150 million in bicycle infrastructure
The Flemish government will allocate 150 million euros to local authorities who intend to construct new bicycle infrastructure. The initiative comes from Flemish Minister of Internal Administration Bart Somers (Open Vld). Flemish authorities will invest one euro for every two euros spent by the local government. This way, the total budget amounts to 450 million euros.
“More and more Flemish citizens use the bicycle. That is why we want to invest in better bicycle infrastructure,” Somers says on Open Vld’s website.
Last year, the Agency for Roads and Traffic (Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer, AWV), measured a total of 4 136 km of bike-ways in Flanders last year. The results showed that 56,3% of them were in excellent condition, while 43,7% were imperfect or simply bad. Especially in Limburg, the so-called ‘bicycle paradise’ of the country – the bicycle paths along the regional roads sometimes are in deplorable condition.
In September 2020, the Flemish government launched its recovery plan – Flemish Resilience. The Flemish government intends to invest 4,3 billion euros to get the Flemish region back on the rails again after the corona crisis. A large part of this budget is intended for local authorities.
“Such investments are important for citizens, public domains, digitizing, and sustainable mobility,” Somers says.
Other countries in northern Europe inspire flemish authorities. When it comes to bicycle infrastructure, Copenhagen is a shining example. That is also why Minister Somers calls the project ‘The Copenhagen Plan’.
The budget comes on top of Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works’ existing investment plans, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld). She already reserved 335 million euros for bicycle projects. And she also frees 30 million euros to invest in safer school routes: one half for municipal roads, the other half for regional roads. Peeters’ intentions show that Flanders has the ambition to get everybody on the bike.