Home Brussels Elke Van den Brandt

Elke Van den Brandt

by editor

Elke Van den Brandt, Brussels’ transport minister, is showing how even the most intractable relationships — Brussels and its love of cars — can be broken. It’s been the singular mission of the 42-year-old Green politician since she came into the job in 2019, and she’s succeeding.

Van den Brandt is a seasoned politician, switching seats between the parliaments of Flanders and Brussels since 2009. She is known for her competence and clear communication — and for going to work on a bike before it was cool — which helped present the Greens as a viable option. Since she has been in office, she has taken parts of Bois de la Cambre, a woody park on the edge of town, as well as major thoroughfares like Rue de La Loi, Rue Belliard and Avenue Louise, and made them more friendly for bikes. She’s also lowered the speed limit to 30 kilometers per hour in most parts of the city. This year she passed a major plan, called Good Move, that would cut traffic in the center by 24 percent by 2030. Other proposals, like making public transport free for seniors and young people, and new tram lines, are also being discussed.

The challenges she faces are thorny. Making Brussels more bike-friendly has inevitably led to clashes with car drivers, who brand her politics as “autophobia.” And there’s little she can do about Brussels’ squabbling municipalities. The plan to ban traffic from the Bois de la Cambre was embraced by one neighborhood but reversed when another complained the ban would redirect traffic to its own streets. But if she succeeds, other municipalities might be tempted to follow.

Source link

Related Posts