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Consultation opens for A12 'green promenade' in Laeken

21:19 05/09/2022

A plan to transform the end of the A12 motorway in Brussels, near the Atomium, into an "urban boulevard" with more green space and cycle paths will be put out to public consultation this week.

The change is part of the city’s overall mobility plan, Good Move, which hopes to tackle the infamously bad traffic in the Belgian capital while combating levels of air pollution that are significantly higher than many other major European cities.

The A12 connects Antwerp and Brussels. The project to transform the road in Brussels was first announced last November and is projected to be completed in 2024. The public inquiry officially begins on Wednesday 7 September.

"The project proposes to bring together the two directions of traffic on the same branch of the two-way road," the text of the project explains.

"To do this, the two lanes coming off the R21 are relocated to Avenue Van Praet, while the three lanes coming off the A12 are repositioned around a single axis consisting of 2x2 lanes with a central embankment."

The idea is to limit the road surface area, creating "rationalised but fully functional" roads and reducing traffic in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Laeken and Neder-over-Heembeek would be primarily affected. New green spaces are planned in addition to pedestrian walkways and a bicycle bridge at the Gros Tilleul roundabout.

Avenue Van Praet would shrink from three to two lanes, one in each direction. The central double lane for cars on Avenue des Croix du Feu will be removed entirely, converted into a space for pedestrians.

"In addition to the restructuring of the roads and the creation of the Parkway, the project provides for the closure of the Avenue de Madrid to car traffic between the Avenue de l'Atomium and the Avenue du Gros Tilleul - except for local traffic," the project text explains.

The public inquiry will last until 6 October, after which point permits can be issued if everything is approved.

While the project has the support of Brussels’ mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt, the city’s secretary of state for urban planning, Pascal Smet, remains opposed, saying that a car park is needed.

Written by Helen Lyons