Brussels!

Sometimes, I just hate this city. Especially the public transport. The tramways are unreliable, buses are constantly late, the metro is more or less OK though 3 lines running insufficiently during rush hours is not overwhelming for a city of 1 mio people calling itself the capital of Europe.

Brussels is a city build for cars, and cars only. The transport environment is extremely hostile to cyclists. Only a few cyclist lanes exist but sometimes they finish right in the middle of nowhere. The old tramways (luckily a few lines already run with new ones) date from I don’t know when and are as hostile to wheelchairs and baby trolleys as they could possibly be. (Actually, concerning wheelchairs, they’ve been totally ignored in the planning) Night buses were introduced as early as April 2007 but only for Friday and Saturday night. I’m still trying to figure out if this is a kind of joke or if this is serious.

What I would say is that Brussels missed the development in urban transport of the last 10 – 15 years as there has been for instance the separation of trams and buses from car lanes so that public transport is faster and more reliable; the enabling of all parts of the population, especially physically handicapped, to benefit from the public transport; the encouragement of cyclist by setting up a cyling lane network throughout the city; the discouragement of using the individual cars to make the city greener, cleaner and more attractive to families, tourists, etc.

The overall problem may be linked to the fact that the urban development is quite neglected in Brussels. Anyway, I’m very happy that I can do most of my ways by walking, simply, easy walking. If only they were less cars and less exhaust fumes, it would be quite enjoyable.

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7 responses to “Brussels!

  1. I have been to Brussels by car once. If those tiny, narrow, cobble-stoned pathways were really built for cars – and cars only-, the city planners in Brussels have a very peculiar sense of humour.

    And if it is any consolation to you – the whole of the UK and Brussels seem to share the same city planners…Brussels is probably a bit more advanced…

  2. Hi Maik! Well, the problem is that once you use another transport here than your own car, you realise how problematic this is. Going by car is probably not the best in this city but everything else is worse…

    Concerning the UK, you make me less and less inclined to go there:
    – bad foot
    – weird taste for clothes
    – city planners who do a lot of things except planning cities appropriately.

    I know that it is difficult and that you need to manage urban development on the very long term. But other cities are able to get there. Like Grenoble where it is a policy since 10 years to make the public transport available for people in wheelchairs, to reduce parking availabilities in order to favourite public transport and to create a network of cycling lanes. Or is it me; having had the chance to live in more than one city where public transport and urban development are not the source of constant annoyance? Va savoir…

  3. I understand your point, but I don’t think I can subscribe it. I take the metro every single day, and the tram quite frequently. I know it’s not perfect (some delays, brusque brakes) but how can we complain?? We live in a city with metro, tram, bus and taxi. That’s luxurious!

  4. …come to think of it…i’m not sure they actually DO any planning…

    I have to agree with zeta – we don’t have a metro or a tram. We do have buses (very expensive) and taxis (incredibly expensive) though.

  5. We may live in a city with metro, trams and buses but unfortunately, there is a lot what could and has to be improved about these metros, trams and buses. For me, its a matter of comparison and I’ve seen a lot of cities even smaller ones where the public transport is much better than in Brussels.
    @ Zeta: it may seem luxurious to you, but believe me, it isn’t. It is not too worse, that’s the best I can say about it.

    @ Maik: It seems that living in the UK is less and less an option for me 🙂

  6. I Have lived there for 6 months, its shit,,,,COME TO LONDON for a real city, GOD SAVE THE QUEEN XXX

  7. Hey Kam, glad to see that you support my point of view though I was sure you would. The only problem with the UK seems to be that outside of the big cities (is there another one than London), public transport is just as bad as here or even worse…
    One day, I will have to come over and find out.

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