“1 hour to drive 6km, I would have eaten my steering wheel!”: Sébastien is overwhelmed by the new Brussels traffic plan

A month ago, the new traffic plan came into force in the center of Brussels. Motorist, Sébastien denounces the queues generated and says “not to understand the policy of the authorities”.

The new Brussels traffic plan obviously does not convince everyone. Via the orange Alert us button, Sébastien shares his anger with us. “One hour and six minutes to cover 6 km”he exclaims.

A new traffic plan in the center of Brussels, called the “Good Move” plan, came into force on August 16. Its aim: to reduce transit traffic in the busy and residential areas of the city center and to give more space to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

For Sébastien, this new plan is “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. On Tuesday, August 23, he is preparing to return home after a long day of work. He leaves from Place Rogier in Brussels and wants to reach Manage, in the province of Hainaut, where his home is. And that’s where the trouble begins. “To get out of Brussels, it took me 1h20, with a diesel consumption of 18.9L/100kms. I admit that I don’t fully understand this policy”, he confides.

There are people well paid to do bullshit

Sébastien reports impressive traffic jams, delivery vans parked in double line and cars blocking roundabouts. To avoid the queues, he tries to take secondary axes. But nothing helps. “I turn right, I find myself facing a block of concrete. I turn left, another block. When I return, I come across a one-way street. I would have eaten my steering wheel”testifies the inhabitant of Manage.

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In fact, the Good Move plan provides for changes in the direction of traffic. The aim is to redirect transit traffic to the inner ring road according to the principle of circulation loops (via one-way streets and access reserved for local residents, traders, etc.). “I tell myself that there are people well paid to do bullshit”, Sebastian breathes.

To avoid this time wasted in the queues, the resident of Manage considered taking public transport. But his previous experiences did not convince him. “For years, I took the train. But it was always late. We know when we leave, but never when we arrive”he accuses.

If there are several complaints, maybe it will move?

So much so that Sébastien finally asked his employer to change his place of work. He now practices in Evere and thus avoids wasted time in queues. He describes a journey “more zen and safer”. “I have only one desire: to go home calmly after work”, he testifies. He now hopes that the authorities will back down. “If there are several complaints, maybe it will move?”, he assumes.

The Brussels-Capital Region has been divided into 50 neighborhoods as part of the Good Move plan. A traffic plan has been produced for each of them and that of the Pentagon was eagerly awaited. Analyzes also reveal that a third of car traffic in the Pentagon is in fact made up of transit traffic, which therefore does not have its final destination.

This trend is causing an increase in air pollution, noise pollution, road safety and traffic jams, which in particular delay public transport. By limiting transit traffic, among other things through limited access zones via the adaptation of traffic directions and one-way streets, the City makes the streets more pleasant and safer for visitors, schoolchildren, residents and users of public transport. common.

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“A disaster” for traders

On the merchant side, this new plan is difficult to manage. “It’s a disaster. We already had a first problem with the pedestrianization which was badly designed, badly thought out. Now, the Good Move plan further complicates access to and exit from the car parks. We have a huge loss of clients”, deplores Alain Berlinbau, president of the federation of downtown merchants.

The delivery people denounce a waste of time caused by the multiplication of one-way streets. “It takes a lot longer to make a simple stop. It’s difficult for me”, one of them exasperated.

It is too early to assess

Did the authorities expect the traffic jams denounced here? What conclusions can we draw? “We expected a period when traffic has to adapt to the new traffic. We see that there are problems that are more related to the evening rush hour”, concedes Bart D’hondt, Alderman for Mobility and Public Works.

At present, it is difficult to draw up a balance sheet. According to the alderman, we have to wait “5 to 6 months to assess things”. In the meantime, the authorities are working, based on the feedback obtained on the ground, on arrangements in order to respond concretely to the problems detected. It is with this in mind that the phasing of traffic lights has been modified at certain intersections in the Pentagon.