Mobility Week: sustainable mobility takes center stage
From 16 to 22 September, Belgium will host Mobility Week, organized for the 25th time this year. In Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia, various initiatives and numerous actions will be organized to put sustainable mobility in the spotlight.
In Brussels, for example, everyone is invited to discover the capital on foot. On Sunday, 19 September, the three regions can enjoy a day of car-free time and streets full of activities with space for pedestrians and cyclists.
Strolling through Brussels
The “city of 15 minutes”, where everything can be reached in a maximum of 15 minutes on foot, is one of the Brussels regional mobility plan Good Move pillars. During Mobility Week, walking will be promoted in Brussels as a fully-fledged means of transport.
Moreover, walking is always complementary to other modes of transport. Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen) only sees advantages. “No better mobility than proximity. And no healthier mode of transport than walking. Today 37% of all journeys within Brussels are made on foot. By 2030 this figure should be 50%. In a safe, green, accessible city, you only need your feet to move around freely.”
On the occasion of Mobility Week, the newspaper L’Avenir published an interesting interview with Émile Herssens, the coordinator of walk.brussels, a new platform that has brought together some thirty associations, organizations, and neighborhood committees.
According to her, the awareness of walking as a means of transport in Brussels is on the way. For 2021, a budget of 6 million euros has been released. “This is substantial, but not if you compare it to the maintenance budget for a car tunnel, which was 100 million in 2020.”
But Herssens also says that Brussels does not really have a walking culture yet, certainly not compared to other European capitals. “In the center of Paris, you don’t take your car to walk two kilometers. In Brussels, they do. Vienna is an excellent example of a city that walks and urban planning has included the pedestrian vision for years.”
The Brussels hyper-center is, for example, still not “walkable” because there are still differences in speed and perception of danger between transport modes. “Brussels needs intermodality, but it must be pleasant for everyone. Why is the car the only one that does not have to share its space?”
Teleworking is honored
There are still several other actions during Mobility Week in Brussels. Employees are challenged to take up the “Go to work without my car” challenge with their company, and the “Go to school without my car” campaign is another example.
Currently, 62% of primary school pupils and 84% of secondary school pupils travel to and from school by other means than a car, at least every other day.
(F)Aces of the Future
In Flanders, the (F)Aces of the Future, an inspiration day for sustainable mobility for cities and municipalities, will be organized in Mechelen on Thursday, 16 September. Friday is Strap Day. On that day, pupils from 1 400 primary schools go to school on foot and by bike. Companies and employees can also participate in the National Telework Day on Monday 20 September and the Car Free Workday.
Pedestrian municipality label
Several actions are also planned in Wallonia, such as installing mobility villages, awareness-raising in traffic jams, or setting up a pedestrian or bicycles bus. The Mobility Challenge is also on the program, with several actions to encourage public administrations, companies, and schools to carry out original actions on the theme of sustainable mobility.
Thirty municipalities in Wallonia will also receive the “Commune pédestre” of pedestrian municipality label, which rewards investments in public roads and alternative mobility to the car. In this context, the municipality of Chaudfontaine will be honored for its pedestrian-cyclist connection between Embourg and Beaufays.
At last but not least: like every year, the highlight of Mobility Week is the Car-Free Sunday. This will take place in Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia on Sunday 19 September.