Bicycle bridge between Vilvoorde and Brucargo to encourage commuting

A bicycle bridge over the Haachtsesteenweg (N21) has been inaugurated in the Flemish Brabant town of Steenokkerzeel. The bridge is part of the bicycle highway F214, which connects the center of Vilvoorde with Brucargo, the cargo zone of Brussels Airport. “Thanks to the bridge, hundreds of airport employees will be able to get to work smoothly and safely,” says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.

For airport CEO Feist, the bicycle bridge eliminates “an important missing link in the bicycle network around the airport”. Three years ago, a connection was already realized on the other side of the airport between the bicycle highway F3 (Brussels-Leuven) and the passenger zone of Brussels Airport, so now a connection between the cargo zone and the bicycle highway F214 will follow.

Local residents

But the bridge is also essential for local residents. For example, there is a large supermarket at Brucargo where many local residents shop. They can reach the store more easily on foot or by bike without crossing the busy Haachtstesteenweg.

The bridge, an investment of 1,8 million euros, is a 40-meter-long steel structure with a red fence. The behemoth weighs 76 tons. A kilometer of new bike lanes has also been constructed around the bridge.

Bicycle manager

According to the airport manager, about 4% of companies’ employees commute by bicycle, a percentage “that we want to increase significantly in the coming years”. According to 2019 figures, some 24 000 people work at and around Brussels Airport.

To that end, it counts not only on new infrastructure but also on information and awareness campaigns and a bicycle manager appointed in mid-March. Steven Farad is to map the cycling potential and, for example, work out concrete measures and actions to boost the number of cyclists.

Apropos, Feist also invites airline travelers to the airport by bike, for example, city trippers and backpackers traveling with one backpack. In addition, there is bicycle parking at the passenger terminal. Brussels Airport pointed out on Thursday, for instance, that the three parking lots closest to the terminal (P1, P2, and P3) were saturated due to the beginning of the spring vacations in the French-speaking region.

Brussels Airport also co-invested in the bridge. As a result, Flanders paid about half the cost of 1,8 million euros; the rest came from the European Union (700 000 euros) and Brussels Airport (200 000 euros).

Bicycle allowance

The bicycle policy plan that Flemish Minister for Mobility Lydia Peeters (Open Vld) recently proposed states the ambition that by 2040, more than 30% of trips would be made by bicycle in Flanders. To that end, investments in bicycle infrastructure were raised to more than 300 million euros per year.

By May 1st at the latest, all private sector employees will be entitled to a bicycle allowance. In January, trade unions and employer organizations concluded a supplementary collective bargaining agreement on this in the National Labor Council. The allowance amounts to € 0,27 per kilometer for those who regularly cycle to and from work. The allowance applies to a maximum distance of 40 km per day. The amount is indexed annually.

Today, an estimated 14% of all employees come to work by bicycle, but in the group of employees who live less than 5 km from work, more than half still come by car. Still, bikes are becoming increasingly popular for commuting, partly because employers are doing more to support sustainable mobility modes.


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