The area of the historical city center in Brussels, also known as the Pentagon, will become a car-free zone as of August 16th, as announced by the city administration. The plan is part of ‘Good Move’, a Brussels-wide new circulation scheme aimed at reducing transit traffic in the busy and inhabited neighborhoods of the inner city and to give more space to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. All neighborhoods will remain accessible by car.
The Brussels City Council has already approved the proposal for the new circulation measures by Deputy Mayor for Mobility Bart Dhondt. The fact that the Pentagon will be car-free means that every way of getting around in the inner city will remain possible, but that motorists with no final destination will be directed to the inner ring road.
Too many cars are turning round in circles in streets that are not meant for this. They cause congestion and tailbacks in residential areas and where children go to school.Bart Dhondt, Deputy Mayor for Mobility
Pass-through traffic will thus be banned to the maximum extent possible. In concrete terms, this means that visitors arriving by car will be directed to the nearest car park. Together with new parking regulations, this should ensure less “lost traffic”, which in turn will make traffic smoother and safer.
The initiative should ensure that Brussels becomes more accessible for people who do have a destination there. Brussels is thus building on the “success story” of the pedestrian zone in the center, mirroring cities such as Paris, Copenhagen and Ghent. The Brussels inner city is being divided up into 8 neighborhoods that will be delimited by a loop for through traffic.
Avoiding the new rules will be difficult, almost impossible.Bart Dhondt, Deputy Mayor for Mobility
“The circulation scheme will have a positive impact on both traffic safety and on the accessibility of the Pentagon,” Dhondt said. “Current transit makes downtown streets unsafe. It creates stress, congestion and air pollution. With the circulation scheme, we solve that: we give the city back to the people who want to be here, who get off or get on here.”
Less transit should not only make traffic safer, but also create more public space, allow buses to run more smoothly and facilitate deliveries downtown. The space taken up by transit traffic to date will go to infrastructure for current and new cyclists and to additional public space.
According to Brussels Mayor Philippe Close, the figures show that Brussels residents are ready to make more conscious mobility choices. “Nearly 80% of commuting to the Pentagon is done by public transport and only 30 percent of households in the Pentagon have a car,” he said.
The entire circulation plan for the Pentagon is the result of a thorough diagnosis in which the people of Brussels, visitors and merchants were also involved, said the city council. Schaarbeek and Anderlecht have already implemented this plan on a local level.
List of streets and changes
1. Avenue de Stalingrad
One-way traffic is planned as part of the redevelopment, in consultation with the neighborhood.
2. Place de la Liberté
Widening of the square with limited passage for emergency services.
3. Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés, Rue du Chêne, Rue Etuve and Rue de Villers
Pedestrianization of the square and adjacent streets.
Connection to the historic center.
4. Place de l’Yser
Mandatory right turn from the Quai du Commerce towards the tunnel and from the Boulevard de Dixmude. Quai de Willebroeck accessible via the Inner Ring.
5. Place Sainte-Catherine
One-way traffic. Motorists coming from the quays are obliged to turn left onto Rue de Laeken.
6. Porte du Rivage
Pedestrian continuity between Square Marguerite Duras and Porte du Rivage.
7. Rue de l’Enseignement
Widening of the Place de Louvain creating a loop from Rue de l’Enseignement to Rue Croix de Fer.
8. Rue de la Chapelle
Connection of Place de la Chapelle to the Skate Park. Limited access to emergency services and bus lanes.
9. Rue de la Senne
The central berm widens and becomes a new square. Access to garages and emergency services is maintained.
10. Rue des Foulons
The street is made one-way opposite Rue du Vautour, reducing speeding.
11. Rue des Riches-Claires
School street between Saint-Christophe and Van Artevelde.
12. Rue des Six Jetons
Limited access to Place Fontainas for emergency services and
and buses by means of a dedicated bus lane.
13. Rue des Ursulines
Reversal of the one-way street system to calm the streets in the Stalingrad and Rouppe neighborhoods.
14. Rue du Canon – Rue du Marais
A traffic filter to secure the school approaches. Access maintained for pedestrians, cyclists, garage users and emergency services.
15. Rue du Gentilhomme
Limited access zone for cyclists, buses, cabs, garage users and emergency services.
16. Rue du Marais
Limited access zone with retractable bollard on the Inner Ring.
Access maintained to the hospital emergency room for ambulances, cabs and patients.
17. Marché aux Porcs Street
One-way traffic from Rue Locquenghien to Rue Léon Lepage. Exit from the City via Dansaert and the Inner Ring.
18. Rue du Miroir – Rue du Faucon
Pedestrianization/limited access zone planned after redevelopment as part of the Les Marolles Sustainable Neighborhood Contract.
19. Rue du Rempart des Moines
Partial pedestrianization planned after redevelopment as part of the School Contract.
20. Rue Haute
Rue Haute between J. Stevens and Empereur in pedestrian zone with a passage maintained for buses and emergency services.
21. Rues de Flandre, d’Ophem and de la Clé
Limited access zone with a retractable bollard on Rue de Flandre near Rue Léon Lepage. Residents, shopkeepers, deliverymen, people with garage and emergency services keep access.
22. Rue de Namur
Project to be developed in consultation with residents and merchants in order to reduce traffic on the street.
23. Rue Royale
Traffic filter with passage limited to buses, streetcars, cyclists and emergency services.
24. Rues Ravenstein, des Douze Apôtres and Montagne du Parc
Pedestrianization planned after the redevelopment of the Marché au Bois.
25. Rue Van Artevelde and Dansaert
Van Artevelde between Dansaert and Six Jetons: one-way traffic and bus/bike/taxi contraflow. Dansaert: one-way street from Van Artevelde to the Vieux Marché aux Grains with bus/bike/taxi contraflow.