Car-Free Sunday in 36 towns in Flanders, Wallonia only two
Next Sunday, the car is taboo, and pedestrians and cyclists rule the Belgian roads. Car-Free Sunday, which traditionally is part of Mobility Week, is the opportunity to let people get to know sustainable solutions, says organizer Mobiel 21. Remarkable: in Wallonia, only two towns participate, compared to 19 in Brussels and 36 in Flanders.
With 19 municipalities closed to traffic, Brussels will become the largest car-free zone in Europe for one day. Whether on foot, by bike, on rollerblades, on an e-scooter, or horseback, the idea is to enjoy the asphalt differently. “And to get a taste for active mobility,” suggests Brussels Mobility.
The maximum speed limit is 30 km/h, and public transport company MIVB/STIB will be offering free transport throughout the day. The service offer will also be reviewed with a major reinforcement of most metro, bus, and tram lines.
Like every year, MIVB/STIB will be organizing its open day. The public will be able to go behind the scenes of the construction site of the future Metro 3, which is being built at the Albert station in Forest.
Only 2 towns in Wallonia
But the day will, of course, be marked by several events and activities throughout the country. According to Sanne Vanderstraeten, project manager at Mobiel 21, the involvement of the residents is remarkable during this edition of the Car-Free Sunday. “Play areas and neighborhood parties dominate the program,” says Vanderstraeten.
However, the contrast between Brussels and Flanders and Wallonia is striking. In Wallonia, only two towns have organized a car-free day: Saint-Ghislain and Morlanwelz, both located in the province of Hainaut.
Although car traffic will not be completely banned, other Walloon towns will be promoting softer modes of transport.
World Cycling Championships
In Flanders, 35 municipalities are organizing a Car-Free Sunday, where this year’s sustainability event also falls in the same period as the World Cycling Championships. Various Flemish host cities and municipalities, such as Bruges and Leuven, are doing everything they can during this cycling event to give sustainable mobility a stage.
Hasselt will not participate as it already organized a Car-Free Sunday on 12 September. But 36 cities and municipalities, that’s more than last year when the coronavirus threw a spanner in the works, but still a lot less than 2019 when 49 Flemish cities and municipalities took part.
“A day without king car is good for the ears, lungs, and heart,” says Sanne Vanderstraeten. “A Car-Free Sunday introduces people to sustainable solutions. It is the ideal opportunity to test various mobility alternatives, such as (electric) bicycles, e-steps and to learn more about shared mobility and public transport”, emphasises Vanderstraeten.