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Brussels' new mobility plan 'Good Move' has cost €6.5 million so far

15:33 13/02/2023

The redesign of Brussels’ mobility infrastructure in the face of pollution, congestion and traffic-related accidents has cost an estimated €6.5 million so far, new figures reveal.

Good Move, as the regional mobility plan is called, was first approved by the Brussels government back in 2020 and involves changes to traffic circulation across municipalities.

The idea is to make the city more lively, friendly and safe for people outside of vehicles. Brussels is one of the most congested European capitals, and cut-through traffic results in pollution – both noise pollution and CO2 – in many otherwise-peaceful neighbourhoods and even around schools.

The plan has not been without its controversies. Various protests took place against changes to traffic patterns and overhauls of public spaces that vehicle owners admonished as inconvenient for car travel.

The plan is being unrolled in small test phases in multiple municipalities. Mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen) provided the estimation of the costs so far in an answer to a question from David Weytsman (MR).

But Weytsman, who is opposed to the mobility plan, said that the number does not include items such as extra infrastructure subsidies for municipalities, technical support from the region, consultations with residents and the cost of mobility studies.

Weytsman told Belga that a more accurate estimation is €14 million.

“We knew Good Move was bad for mobility – we now also know that it is bad for Brussels residents' wallets,” said Weytsman.

“We do not want to continue this plan without a thorough review.”

Others opposed to the plan, such as Anne-Charlotte d'Ursel (MR) have made accusations of “mismanagement” when it comes to the implementation of Good Move.

D’Ursel said the plan is “not adapted to the reality of thousands of affected residents” and that the way it has been implemented was “unacceptable”.

For examples, she points to Cureghem, in Anderlecht, where the municipality withdrew the plan after protests, and Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, which refused to work on the results of a regional study, which also cost money.

Van den Brandt's office was unable to confirm the number suggested by Weytsman. He breaks it down by saying that €5.7 million was used for infrastructure grants to municipalities, €300,000 for operating grants to municipalities, €1 million for an assistance contract, €750,000 for mobility studies and €1 million to strengthen the participation of and information for the inhabitants and economic players in the districts concerned.

But supporters of the plan say that numbers are being overblown considering the steep costs of projects that benefit only vehicle owners, such as the renovation of the Annie Cordy tunnel, at a price of €500 million.

Brussels MP Arnaud Verstraete (Green) said that €6.5 million was “a trifle” compared to that.

“A healthier, pleasant neighbourhood, for a fraction of the annual mobility budget? That’s worth it,” Verstraete said on Twitter.

Written by Helen Lyons