Pedestrianisation: Brussels to unveil huge new ‘Comfort Zone’ before the summer as Amsterdam announces new traffic restrictions.
Also, Sara Nase and Porsche GT3 on Col de Turini. Foreign vehicles involved in a tiny proportion of fatal accidents in France. Gothenburg ignores voters to keep Congestion Charge. Diesel edges up in Luxembourg to compare quiet well with previously expensive Belgium.
NEW CAR BANS AMSTERDAM + BRUSSELS
New pedestrian zones announced in Low Country capitals.
Brussels is set to have the second largest* pedestrian zone in Europe.
The new ‘Comfort Zones’ were expected to be in place on 18 July but it was announced earlier today they will start on 29 June, before the summer holidays.
As well as extending further out from around the mediaeval Grand Place, a large part of the new zone – marked in mauve, above – runs along Anspachalaan (Boulevard Anspach), the main shopping street in the city centre.
It extends from just south of the Stock Exchange up to Brouckere Plein, at the junction of Boulevards Emile Jacqman and Adolphe Max out to the R20 Pentagon ring road.
Anspachlaan will have two crossing places for cars, at Rue du Fosse aux Loups and Rude de l’Ecuyer. Half of Boulevard Adolphe Max will be pedestrianised too.
There will also be car-free streets around Chapel Church near Sablon Square, and Place de Jeu de Balle in the south.
More streets will be reserved just for residents and deliveries, marked in dark purple above.
Cars will be allowed to circulate in a one-way loop around the ‘Comfort Zone’ with the express aim of directing them to parking as quickly as possible. New digital signs showing free spaces will be installed.
Central Brussels is already quite tricky to drive around (see here). However, by reducing the number of available routes, the possibility remains that the new arrangements could actually make it easier for drivers. There are however outstanding questions over access to hotels.
At the same time, to accommodate rising bike traffic, Amsterdam has announced new traffic restrictions.
In an experiment which, if successful, could be replicated in other parts of the city, the Nine Streets (Negen Straatjes) shopping district in the west of the city centre will be car-free on Saturdays. Speed limits will be reduced to 30kmh where cars and bikes mix.
However, eight new underground car parks will also be built and bikes themselves will be banned from parts of the Red Light district says DutchNews.nl.
The mayor announced a package of fifty new transport measures in total, including new bike lanes and bike parking, at a cost of up to €400m last Thursday.
* Several places claim to have the largest pedestrian zone in Europe, including Montpellier, York, Munich and Rome.
roundup: CROSS-BORDER PROSECUTION. Interesting new details emerge in a Telegraph story at the weekend on cross-border prosecution rules, due to include British, Irish and Danish drivers from 2017. Foreign vehicles account for 6.3% of traffic in France but are involved in only 2% of accidents and 4% of fatal crashes it says. At the same time, Autoroute.info says foreign vehicles account for 21% of those flashed by radar. SWEDEN. Gothenburg council has voted to keep the city’s congestion charge despite a referendum last year which saw 57% of voters against. Local political parties saw no other way to finance a new railway tunnel, part of the West Sweden Package (Vastsvenskapaketet) of public transport improvements paid for by the charge reports Transport & Environment. Referendum results are not binding in Sweden. The next local elections are in 2018. The Congestion charges in Gothenburg and Stockholm both now apply to foreign vehicles. See more here. LUXEMBOURG. The diesel price is edging up again reports Wort.lu. From lows of much less than €1/litre last year, the nationally regulated price now stands at €1.091. Petrol will remain at €1.247 for the time being. Incidentally, the Help for Heroes 4×4 European Rally recce last week found just 3c difference per litre in the price between Belgium and Luxembourg (€1.10 v €1.07). From being among the most expensive in Europe for most of last year, fuel in Belgium is now considerably more reasonable.