The Brussels-Capital Region wants to adapt the south-eastern part of its inner ring road from a highway into a boulevard with the grandeur of the Champs-Elysées. Cars are largely banned, the winners are pedestrians, cyclists and trees.
The region wants to redevelop the Boulevard de Waterloo and the Avenue de la Toison d’Or into "a real city promenade with loads of trees, benches, light and bi-directional cycle lanes", says Brussels Minister of Mobility Pascal Smet: he promises the streets that "currently look like a highway and an open-air parking space" will "soon match the beauty of les Champs-Elysées in Paris or the Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona."
The plans give more space to cyclists and pedestrians, with a two-way cycling path and a wide promenade with benches and pavement cafes. Additional thought is given to more green in the city, featuring dozens of extra trees and shrubberies. Many of the benches will also feature rectangular or round flower tubs.
Through traffic underground
The plans also mean a separation between local traffic and through traffic: the latter will remain underground in the tunnels. Morerover, almost all of the 380 parking places will disappear. "There are still plenty of parking places", Smet says: "1500 places are available in underground parking spots, while just outside of the new promenade there are still a great number of open-air parking spaces as well." While car traffic is discouraged as much as possible, suppliers will still be able to access the stores through a delivery zone with cameras and rising bollards.
The estimated cost for the whole project is some ten million euros. If everything goes according to plan, the works could start in the second half of 2020.