At last: cyclists welcome on the Generaal Jacqueslaan/boulevard Général Jacques
The Brussels Region and the municipality of Ixelles have agreed to redesign the Generaal Jacqueslaan/boulevard Général Jacques and the Adolphe Buyllaan/avenue Adolphe Buyl. This will allow for the creation of a secure, separate cycle path on the General Jacqueslaan/boulevard Général Jacques, with parking spaces alongside the tramway. At the request of the local residents and the municipality, the existing two-way-traffic system remains. 'Our plans will provide comfort and safety to all road users', said Pascal Smet, Minister of mobility. 'Thanks to a good working relationship with the municipality of Ixelles, we can offer an enticing prospect to the entire neighbourhood.'
The Brussels Region applied for a new planning permit for redesigning the Buyllaan/avenue Buyl; soon, green light will be given to the permit for redesigning the General Jacqueslaan/boulevard Général Jacques. Following a pilot phase and a series of meetings with the commune of Ixelles, a consensus has grown on how these two main roads should look like in the future. The common concern is bifold: to improve the environment for both the local inhabitants and the passers-by and to give cyclists, pedestrians as well as passengers using public transport the space and safety they deserve.
The General Jacqueslaan/boulevard Général Jacques will be rebuilt from front to front. The tramway stops will be moved to serve passengers. “You will no longer need to stay put in the middle of the crossroads in order to be able to catch the first tramway coming around’, says Pascal Smet. Parking lots will be moved as well, and are to be spread along the tram line. That is the best solution from an urban development point of view. Also, the Region will plant forty trees, thus upgrading the avenue to a city boulevard. Each road user has his own place, including a separate cycle path. The construction works should be completed by 2017 at the latest.
Buyl: two-way traffic
Meanwhile, by the end of 2016 the Buyllaan/avenue Buyl will get a make-over. Contrary to the tests performed during the pilot phase, traffic on the Buyllaan/avenue Buyl will run in two directions. That was explicitly asked for by the local residents and the municipality of Ixelles, and Pascal Smet was eager to accommodate this demand.
The bus stop, currently situated near the end of the avenue, will be moved to the Renbaanlaan/avenue de l'Hippodrome. By putting bus stops behind the traffic lights, it becomes easier to regulate the traffic lights, so traffic flows more freely, both for public transport and private cars. Pedestrians will enjoy wider footpaths and additional, secured pedestrian crossings.
The building site will stretch from the General Jacqueslaan/boulevard Général Jacques to the Universiteitslaan/avenue de l'Université, including the Devèzesquare, that will get a new tramway stop.
'My sincere thanks to the municipality of Ixelles, for the smooth and constructive cooperation', says Mr Smet. 'Together we have succeeded in identifying a win-win-solution that will enhance the comfort for all road users; no losers here. The revamping of the neighbourhood will create a more pleasant atmosphere as well as more safety. We reassign public spaces, so that every person gets his own and deserved place.'
Caroline Désir, the alderwoman for Mobility in the municipality of Ixelles, is satisfied. 'The new design will change the image of the General Jacqueslaan/boulevard Général Jacques', she says. 'Today this urban express way cuts Ixelles in two. The new city boulevard will soon improve the quality of life of the local community. Moreover, the General Jacqueslaan/boulevard Général Jacques will offer a flat, direct connection to get to the university by bike', Désir adds.
'I am very pleased with the constructive dialogue between the Region, the commune of Ixelles, the local residents and the shop-owners', says Willy Decourty, mayor of Ixelles. 'It proved very useful to put the one-way traffic system in the Buyllaan/avenue Buyl to the test. During those tests, the project has matured and we found a solution to improve the STIB/MIVB-services and to ensure a better accessibility of shops and houses', the mayor concludes.