When the situation allows it, many Brusselers will again enjoy our great bars and restaurants. Because there is no better place than a terrace and because we want to encourage people to meet outdoors this summer, we authorize the conversion of parking places to terraces until the end of 2022. We provide clear and simple rules that are the same for everyone. In this way, many terraces will appear in Brussels this summer. Our bars and restaurants are going through difficult times and this way we are providing more perspective.
In Brussels, as in many other cities, most public space is occupied by cars. On top of that, those cars are parked on average 97 % of the time. But Brussels is currently undergoing a massive metamorphosis from a city for cars to a city for people. We are transforming many squares from open air car parks to places where people can meet each other (some people sometimes seem to forget that this is the original function of these squares). We are also transforming many of our streets from city motorways to beautiful city boulevards or car-free avenues. Our public transport network has expanded and now twice as many people use it. Not only do we have new tram and bus lines, we have also started the works at the new north-south metro connection.
Cyclists are no longer the exception in Brussels. Thanks to the focus on cycling infrastructure and communication, many Brusselers now regularly take their bikes, just like me. Air quality is a priority on the agenda and measures have been taken to drastically improve it. We have introduced the Low Emission Zone, are quickly electrifying the public transport vehicles and we are planting trees and bushes in public spaces.
Brussels is transforming from a city for cars to a city for people and a city where people from all over the world meet. For me it is very important that we continue to encourage and facilitate these interactions between people when the situation allows it again.
By turning a parking space for 1 car into a terrace, we create a place where 12 people can meet this summer, in open air.
Once the health situation allows it, we will be able to enjoy drinks or meals on many terraces. This is possible because we have simplified the regulations on catering terraces so that restaurant and bar owners can easily install terraces on parking places outside. The approved guidelines are valid in 2021 and 2022.
In particular, flexible, modular, multifunctional, and movable terraces will not require a planning permit, as long as they provide a free passage of at least 1.50 m. Terrace furniture can be stored outside if it is placed together and secured. By simplifying, harmonizing, and limiting the regulations, the Brussels Government wants to offer as many bars and restaurants as possible the opportunity to install a terrace. Concretely, this can be done by converting parking places into a terrace. A planning permit will no longer be required for this, but there will be some rules to follow. For example, they must be seasonal. They must also be taken down once a year and their floor can only occupy the existing parking places. In order to avoid a height difference with the sidewalk, the floor height must be limited.
Often, pavements do not have enough space for a terrace, while bars and restaurants can already host fewer people indoors due to the crisis, which also makes them less profitable. The aim is to support the sector reopening and to stimulate the relaunch of the economy by offering more Brusselers the possibility to enjoy a drink on a terrace together.