Make room for bikes and create space for cars

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Bicycles chained to any spare pole at Brussel's Place Jeu de Balle

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Catering to the excess is limited to cars. Excessive numbers of bikes is ignored.

One of the favourite weekend locations in Brussels in the Place Jeu de Balle. Part boot sale, part antiques market, people flood the market every weekend. A while back, they had plans to develop an underground parking garage on the space. Thankfully, some slightly better thought was eventually involved and the idea was scrapped. But better thought is still needed. Every week, this is the parking situation for dozens and dozens of cyclists. Yet, there is just one city-developped parking space and eight or so bikes take that space immediately. The rest of us have to use whatever fence, pole, lamp, parking meter we can find around the square.
If Brussels were really interested in improving the car situation in Brussels, they would improve the cycling infrastructure. Encourage even more cyclists to come one their favourite rides. More bikes means fewer cars and the car infrastructure would have a better chance of coping with the excess.
More bike racks on Jeu de Balles (and elsewhere) would mean a better welcome for cyclists. More safety. More security. Nothing would make me happier than seeing 100 bikes around the square, all safe in their allotted spaces.
But, knowing Brussels, we will continue to believe more cars can fit in the limited space.
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