Avenue de Tervueren not slimmed down for cycle path after all
There will be no mobility test this summer in which part of the Avenue de Tervueren is sacrificed for a cycle path. Flemish Minister of Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), has decided on the withdrawal.
There had been a wave of reactions against this test arrangement, particularly in the municipalities of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and Woluwe-Saint-Lambert.
The project, which was conceived by the Flemish Region and supported by the Brussels Region, aimed to create a “cycling highway” on two of the four traffic lanes (north and south) of the Avenue de Tervueren up to the Quatre Bras crossing. This would increase the chance of traffic nuisance, according to the opponents.
The two municipalities involved had put down a motion this week to the Flemish minister to abandon the project. They feared that traffic would be shifted to their residential streets in the neighboring municipalities and deplored the lack of consultation, particularly with local players such as the Saint-Luc clinics.
They also feared that the project could have an economic impact and discourage commuters from working in the capital. At the same time, some French-speaking mayors also saw it as a Flemish plan to isolate Brussels.
No testing of the project
According to the newspaper La Dernière Heure, the municipalities of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and Woluwe-Saint-Lambert prefer to renovate the current cycle path in the Soignes forest.
The office of the Brussels Minister for Mobility, Elke Van den Brandt (Groen), says that this was not an option. “The current cycle path in the forest is substandard in terms of width and cannot be renovated because the urban and environmental rules do not allow it; it is forest territory.”
This is why the test phase of the project, while Flanders was ready to change its mind in case of a negative evaluation. The Flemish government and the Brussels Region, an advocate of the project, had also assured that “real monitoring and serious counting would take place to verify that traffic jams do not increase”.
According to De Werkvennootschap, the coordinating Flemish institution behind the project, pre-corona measurements and simulations already showed that the project would not negatively impact traffic flow.
The existing cycle track will be renovated
Although it is not known why the project was put aside, the Flemish government has finally decided to renovate the existing cycle track.
Flemish Minister of Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), has instructed De Werkvennootschap, which coordinates the various Flemish mobility administrations’ projects, to investigate how the existing cycle path can be converted into a fully-fledged bicycle highway.
“The section of bicycle highway F29 between Quatre Bras and Brussels does not currently meet the standards of a bicycle highway,” the minister said. “That is why efforts are being made, among other things, to create a safe bicycle crossing over the Quatre Bras intersection and a high-quality bicycle connection between the intersection and Brussels.”
On Thursday evening, the Brussels mayors, led by those of the two Woluwe communes (Benoît Cerexhe and Olivier Maingain), expressed their “great satisfaction” with the decision taken by Minister Peeters.
Brussels MR leader David Leisterh also welcomed the news. “Good news for Brussels and its periphery. Brussels must be an open and welcoming region and not become Alcatraz,” he tweeted.