Brussels Avenue Charles Quint to become green urban boulevard

Boulevard Charles Quint in Brussels is to be transformed into a city boulevard with more greenery and cycle paths. Brussels Mobility has applied for planning permission to do so.

The avenue, which runs from the commune of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe through Ganshoren to the Basilica of Koekelberg, is an important but unattractive access route to the capital. Every day, the avenue is used by thousands of commuters coming into the city from the West, making the regional road look more like a motorway.

Two lines in each direction remain preserved

The aim is to rebuild Avenue Charles Quint – with more than 20,000 vehicles in both directions every day – so that it is “integrated into the urban fabric, with modern and diverse transport options to greatly improve the quality of life of residents,” Brussels Mobility points out.

It will continue to have two lanes in each direction, separated by a green central reservation, and 222 of the current 387 parking spaces will be retained. That modification will allow the planting of majestic trees – a total of 75 000 m² will be softened for plantings.

Smooth traffic would be ensured by a dynamic traffic light coordination and management system along the entire axis.

Two-way cycle path

At the same time, the avenue should also become safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Squares are planned to provide “breathing space” for pedestrians, complemented by more comfortable, safer pavements.

Brussels Mobility also wants to provide a two-way cycle path almost four meters wide, perfectly in line with the future Flemish bicycle highway F2. Finally, Brussels Mobility hopes that the final permit will also provide 88 bike parking spaces and drop zones for shared e-scooters and bikes.

Price tag of €22 million

“Finally, the Avenue Charles Quint will become an urban boulevard that not only accommodates car traffic but also offers pedestrians and cyclists a safe path,” says Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen). The avenue will be more attractive for traders, more pleasant for residents, and safer around the school neighborhood.”

If the permit is delivered, the next Brussels government will have to tie the knot. The entire transformation project would cost around 22 million euros.

No tunnel

For the redevelopment of Avenue Charles Quint – it was once called La Belle Avenue, or L’avenue Louise of the North – the Brussels regional public service also organized a citizens’ poll.

Remarkably, a large majority of those questioned (some 1,000 people took part in the poll) wanted the Leopold II tunnel extended to the Ring Road, an idea from the 1980s that was never implemented due to budget constraints.

Christian Lamouline, the mayor of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe of the political party Les engagés, therefore thinks the redevelopment is a missed opportunity precisely because that tunnel is not going to happen.

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