Herentals city council unexpectedly conducts bicycles throughout the center… (Herentals)

The permanent cut in Wuytsbergen will not return, but the street will be restricted to local traffic and converted into a bicycle zone. © Hans Otten

Herentals

The approach to cut-through traffic in Wuytsbergen takes a highly unexpected turn: the Herentals city council has decided to turn the street into a bicycle zone, and by extension the entire city center.

Hans Otten

A fixed cut with tree containers or a virtual cut with smart cameras: the choice between these two options to prevent cut-through traffic and reduce speed in the Wuytsbergen district kept half of Herentals busy last year. The guidance group, which included representatives of local residents, was unable to reach an unambiguous advice in November. That is why the mayor and aldermen have now made the decision themselves: the Wuytsbergen-Ekelen district will become a bicycle zone.

This is a series of bicycle streets, with a maximum speed of 30 kilometers per hour. Moreover, it is prohibited for motorized traffic to overtake cyclists in a cycling zone. This decision is certainly surprising, because this option was not the subject of the test set-ups last year. In Wuytsbergen-Ekelen, the city council immediately links the restriction to local traffic to the new measure.

Whole city center

“At the same time, we are deciding that the entire city center within the ring road will also become a bicycle zone, where a speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour will also apply,” the city council announces. “In this way we guarantee that the interventions in the Wuytsbergen-Ekelen residential area will not lead to a poorer traffic quality and reduced safety in the central streets. Moreover, this decision also contributes to the city’s ambition to realize a modal shift from car to bicycle.”

Within the old fortresses, in fact the old city center of Herentals, a zone 30 regime has been in effect for several years. This now essentially extends to all streets outside the old city center, as long as they are within the Ringlaan. In addition, the regime of the cycling zone is also added to this, with the exception of streets where a full cycle path already exists.

As quickly as possible

The consultancy, which is already in charge of drawing up the mobility and parking plan, is now getting the message “that bicycle zones with a maximum speed of 30 kilometers per hour within built-up areas are the starting point throughout Herentals”. “We want to introduce this measure as soon as possible and communicate after the New Year about the realistic timing,” it sounds.

The sudden plot twist made most people involved in the Wuytsbergen file open their mouths on Tuesday. “The city council is always talking about participation, but now it is suddenly throwing down from its high tower, without any consultation, the decision that the entire center will become a bicycle zone”, grumbles Jan Bertels (Vooruit), who spoke at the city council on Tuesday evening. file Wuytsbergen. “Certainly in mobility issues, it is very important that there is support. You can only achieve that by informing people. Now the Herentalsenaars read in the newspaper on Wednesday that there will be a bicycle zone, without knowing what that means. That only leads to more polarization.”

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