Parking in Antwerp’s historic city center will be mainly reserved for residents and permit holders from August 1st. Visitors will have to go to parking buildings and underground parking garages or park-and-ride zones, often situated at the edge of the city. Never before has Antwerp taken such a drastic measure to discourage motorists from entering the city with their cars.
According to the city council, the new parking policy should ensure that the 16th-century heart of the city – the area between the Leien and the Scheldt quay – becomes more liveable for its inhabitants. Only healthcare providers, entrepreneurs, and people with disabilities will be allowed to park in the city.
‘No declaration of war’
An exception will also be made for residents’ visitors; they will have to register online, enter their license plate, and get permission for a maximum of three hours.
“This is not a declaration of war on the car,” says Antwerp Alderman for Mobility, Koen Kennis (N-VA).” On the contrary, we want to remain accessible to everyone, including people who have no choice but to come by car. Although we strongly recommend alternatives, such as the use of park-and-rides.”
Pressure on public transport
“Today, about a third of the available parking spaces in the streets are occupied by visitors, creating too much parking pressure,” explains Kennis. “We want to free up more space for cyclists, pedestrians, and greenery.”
Antwerp already has about 7 000 parking spaces in the city center, and, according to Koen Kennis, that should be enough. The measure will undoubtedly put extra pressure on the public transport company De Lijn.
In 2017, the city center of Antwerp became a low-emission zone. As a result, diesel vehicles complying with the Euro 3 standard without a particle filter and some particular service vehicles were no longer allowed. So from 2031, no diesel car will be welcome anymore. Gasoline cars will follow in 2035.
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