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Brussels governement to remove the last obstacles to unified parking policy

wednesday -
Reporters

The 19 Brussels boroughs have until 30 September to approve a parking action plan in line with the Region's parking policy. At the same time, the Brussels government is removing a few hurdles that up to now were preventing the implementation of a streamlined parking policy. ‘In order to tackle the car problematic in the Brussels districts, a clear and unified parking policy is crucial’, says Mobility minister Pascal Smet after presenting the government's decisions during the mayors' conference this morning. ‘Simplified rules and less inconvenience, this is what this parking plan is aiming at.’

The Brussels government is determined to complete successfully and once and for all the harmonisation of the parking rules in the whole region, which were already initiated in 2009. For the Brussels inhabitants and the visitors who are coming to the city by car, the myriad of rules, parking fees and exemption cards make life unnecessarily complicated. Similarly, an opaque parking policy causes people to drive unnecessary extra kilometers in search of a parking spot, with the air pollution and trafic trouble as a result. An harmonisation is therefore essential.

From the outset of the term of office, Pascal Smet has been discussing with the different boroughs in order to achieve this goal as fast as possible. During this consultation it has appeared that for a number of boroughs it was not possible to delimit the requested zones within the set timeframe, to approve the adequate fees regulation and to set up a parking action plan in line with the wishes expressed by the Region. Today it appears that the majority of fees regulations which in the meantime has been approved do not comply with the regional regulations. At the same time, only six boroughs have a parking action plan, while, as far as the territorial division into parking zones is concerned, the main lack of clarity is to be found with the boroughs.

That 's why the government has decided that the boroughs will be given a time extension till 30 September 2015 to approve a parking action plan and a division into zones. Two months later, that is to say by 30 November at the latest, amended fee regulations must be submitted. To this end, the parking Agency will also draft a template of regulations.

At the same time, the Brussels government will amend the Parking ruling as well as the Parking decree on a few aspects in order to remove the last obstacles towards a unified parking policy. This will enable the government to approve the boroughs' parking plans one by one. The existing decree states that the19 plans should be approved as a whole, so that one borough can impede the rest. In the new ruling the boroughs which are ready will be able to start applying the new parking policy.

Morevoer it becomes easier to ask for parking cards which are valid in several boroughs. Up to now a teacher had to ask for a different exemption card for each borough in which he was teaching. From now on it will be the Parking Agency, and no longer the boroughs who will deliver the cards. This way the help providers, teachers, car sharers and child carers among others will be relieved of administrative duties.

Finally it has been clearly specified that the control and the collection of parking fees will no longer be carried out by private companies. Due to a legal lack of clarity, there were doubts up to this day.

‘These amendments will make it easier for everyone to achieve a common goal: a unified parking policy in the whole of Brussels’, concludes Pascal Smet. ‘If everyone plays their part, we can a achieve this by 2016.’