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Transportation

Brussels’ Plan for Car-Free Streets Hits a Few Bumps

The Belgian capital’s Good Move mobility initiative aims to tame traffic in the car-choked city center. But some neighborhoods have resisted vehicle restrictions. 

Gridlocked traffic fills the Rue de la Loi in Brussels, Belgium, in 2020. 

Gridlocked traffic fills the Rue de la Loi in Brussels, Belgium, in 2020. 

Photographer: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg

After years of trying to reduce its car dependency, Brussels is poised to adopt what could be its most dramatic pro-pedestrian policy yet: an effective ban on non-local, non-essential traffic in the heart of the Belgian capital.

From Dec. 1, 10 key streets in the city’s core — referred to locally as the Pentagon — will allow vehicle access only to those working for emergency services, maintenance and delivery, to taxis, health visitors, people with disabilities, residents and business owners within the zone. Policed by license plate-monitoring cameras, any vehicle that falls outside these categories will receive a warning letter for their first incursion, and a fine of €58 ($60) for every subsequent one.