The recently voted parking plan of the Brussels Minister for Mobility, Elke Van den Brandt (Groen), has to pool the available parking spaces in urban areas. By doing so, Van den Brandt is actually following a general tendency in a growing number of large European cities.
Van den Brandt wants to see fewer cars in the capital to regain public space: tree plantations, enlarged sidewalks, clean sites for public transport, etc. It is with this idea in mind that the parking rates and the prices of resident cards will soon be revised upwards via an implementing decree.
More off-street parking
The objective pursued – to promote the transfer of parking to spaces located off-street – is reflected in the new parking.brussels management contract concluded with the Brussels Region on Tuesday.
The contract stipulates that the regional agency is responsible for making available, by 2026, the equivalent of 20 000 off-street parking spaces. As a priority through the enhancement of existing locations, and mostly for the benefit of local residents, to facilitate the reduction of on-street parking.
‘Small places to share’
Several ways to expand the off-street parking offer are put forward. It’s a question of occupying vacant or unused off-road spaces, organizing the transformation of spaces belonging to other public entities, supervising the sharing of garages between neighbors by creating a standard agreement, and developing public-private partnerships around underutilized parking lots.
“It’s impossible to build a large car park in every district, so it will be necessary to find small places to share,” underlines Van den Brandt.
10 000 bicycle places
Parking.brussels will analyze the current and future parking needs of the district. The agency can then conclude a contract with any owner of pitches to pool them.
To achieve the objectives set out in the latest Cycling Masterplan, the regional parking agency is also committed to developing 10 000 secure bicycle parking spaces by 2026. Here, too, parking.brussels will have to look for unused spaces and enter into agreements with owners and operators of premises that can be upgraded.
Parking – in Belgium and abroad – can be stressful. Are there any access restrictions in the city I want to visit? Where can I leave my car? What does it cost and how do I pay?
The website https://urbanaccessregulations.eu provides all kinds of information about access restrictions, toll roads, and low-emission zones. The site offers valuable information about 25 European countries.
No more on-street parking
According to Dirk Lauwers, mobility expert at the University of Ghent and Antwerp, most European cities advise against entering the city center by car by reducing parking spaces and making parking (more) expensive.
Parking on-street is drastically reduced in cities like Vienna, Copenhagen, Oslo, and Barcelona. Paris and Amsterdam will follow their example in the coming years.