Annual car-free days to promote the environment, cycling and walking have become a regular feature in many cities, but Brussels has a special claim: On Sunday, September 18th, it will have the largest car-free zone in Europe.
The event, highlight of Brussels Mobility Week, will include not only all of Brussels, but the other 19 municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region. Only cars with an exception permit will be on the roads, and all speed limits will be 30km/h or less. This year's theme for Mobility Week is "Make Brussels a city for children."
Data from previous car-free days has showed measurable drops in air pollution for the day and a reduction of over 10 decibels in noise pollution near motorways.
In a longer-term move to help reduce auto traffic, the Brussels parking agency has made its Park and Ride parking lots at commuter stations free for commuters switching to transit. Previously, there was an annual fee of €60 and an additional €1.50 for each day used. Occasional users can also park free by scanning their tickets, proving that they are taking transit.
Surprisingly, people parking bicycles at the Cycloparking lots at Park and Ride will still have to pay, although the subscription rate has been cut by 75%.