Here follows the second part of the interesting BMW conference held at the BMW Brand Store in Brussels, and here we focus on the presentation of Els Ampe, alderman Public works, Mobility and Dutch speaking matters in Brussels, on the mobility needs of the city of Brussels. She presented here on this photo the pedestrian space project in the centre of Brussels, adding civic pleasure and wellness to the streets in Brussels…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
First of all, here are some biography notes.
Els Ampe spent her childhood in Ostend, after which she moved to Brussels to graduate at the university as a Civil Engineer. She took additional training at the ULB (in French): ‘master en gestion intégrée’ at the Solvay Business School.
Since 2004 she sits in the Brussels Parliament. In 2009, she became head of the Open VLD fraction. From 2006 she is also a councilor in the City of Brussels. Both at the municipal and regional levels, she specializes in cases related to the environment, town planning, mobility and urban design.
Els Ampe did not hand out any slide summaries or comments about her presentation, so we had to rely on our own photos and notes here.
She stated that there is still insufficient political will to coordinate, to adapt existing regulations and legislation to the fast changing mobility needs of today and the future between the different administrations, city of Brussels and the regional authorities. There is also no sense of urgency in the construction of subway stations and public transport infrastructure in general in the capital of Europe. The last metro station has been built… 15 years ago!
The electrification of the car fleet of municipalities is something she also takes close at heart. Government bodies have to set an example here, she stated. Fiscal measures are also taken, like no municipal parking tax for those spaces in office parking lots where cars can be charged. We also found a recent press release stating that the Brussels-Capital Region announced on April 20, 2017 that it wanted to place 200 charging stations for electric vehicles on public roads.
The City of Brussels is therefore the first Brussels municipality taking concrete measures to implement this regional plan. Thus, it modernizes its road permit regulations to allow for the installation, the exploitation and the maintenance of a parking space with charging points for electric vehicles. Quality requirements have been defined for companies that wish to install these charging stations. For example, they will be responsible for the management, operation and maintenance of charging stations and associated parking spaces. The operators will also be responsible for the cleanliness and eventual replacements of the charging stations.
She also made an urgent call to increase the pace of investments, and cited an interesting intra-European comparison made by the OECD, also with Italy. The figures on the slide show clearly the need of this…as Belgium is on the almost last place (pointing her finger) when it comes to investment spending on roads in % of GDP…
She also cited the solutions considered by other cities like Antwerp and Amsterdam, to divert automotive traffic and parking below ground level. She applauded further the major investments made and planned by the City of London to further widen and improve their subway network, by not less than 10 %.
Her bold plan is to expand the existing Brussels Metro or subway network with 6 new subway lines, totaling 36,5 kilometers, and costing around 3,6 billion Euros. This would greatly improve the mobility between the capital and its surrounding region, in all directions.
She finally commented on the recent project of creating a vast pedestrian zone in the Brussels Centre, which is nearing completion and will add pleasure and well being to its citizens and the numerous visitors…
We can only congratulate her on her continuous efforts, and suggest you take a look at the Brussels.be website and her site http://www.elsampe.be, which contains information only in Dutch and French however on her numerous activities; Look also at http://www.elsampe.be/social#pagina-youtube.php: she also wrote a novel last year!
Hans Knol ten Bensel