Railway station study in Bruges leads to cycle-friendly changes

Author: Laura Schubert

To reach the railway station in Bruges, pedestrians and cyclists must first traverse a tricky ring road intersection – one that has been the source of much complaint since its development. The Flemish Government Agency for Roads and Traffic in the City of Bruges wish to solve this complicated traffic situation, thereby ensuring that everyone – regardless of their mode of transport – is able to reach the train station safely.

At an information meeting hosted last weekend by the Agency for Roads and Traffic and the Department of Mobility and Public Works and the City of Bruges, the Mayor, Dirk De fauw, announced:

“We want to improve the livability and the safety of the railway station area for all road users, in particular in the vicinity of the ring road. In addition, we want to enhance the spatial quality of this area, as it forms a gateway to the historical city centre.”

Progress has already been made towards the transformation of this intersection, by consultancy firm Tractebel, which was commissioned to carry out a study and develop a vision for where the ring road and a roundabout meet. Their study has produced a set of solutions that will see a complete redesign of the railway station area. According to Mayor De fauw, safety is “a number one priority”.

For those interested in the intricacies of the design, the proposed solution includes:

  • pedestrian and cyclist passages under the ring road that connect the railway station and Vaartdijkstraat to the city’s green ramparts
  • a pedestrian and cyclist underpass at the UNESCO roundabout (towards the city centre)
  • a Kiss&Ride zone in the railway station car park
  • a ‘hoppinpoint’ in the Hendrik Brugmansstraat, where travelers can switch from one mode of transport to anothe

The changes are expected to have the added benefit of generally beautifying the train station area – which is always a plus, particularly to visitors of the city!

According to Alderman for Public Doman, Mercedes Van Volcem, the cyclist and pedestrian underpasses will not only make the area around the station safer, but also allow cyclists and pedestrians to make “a complete tour of the city ramparts without having to stop for traffic lights or obstacles”.

Head of the West Flanders Roads and Traffic Department, Humberto Van Nunen, hailed the project as a “big step forward” for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, and that it will have a positive impact on the flow of traffic on the ring road.

Following the information meeting, residents and users of the site had the opportunity to provide their feedback at an information market, held the next day.

According to Bart Slabbinck, Handshake project manager in Bruges – which initiated the Tractebel survey that helped shape the proposed design – “the response was unanimously positive”. Research done within the scope of Handshake allowed for a thorough analysis of the current traffic situation, which helped pave the way for the solutions presented.

Before ground can be broken on the new design however, there are still steps to be made; such as obtaining an environmental and building permit, appointing a contractor and outlining a plan to help ensure the least amount of local disruption possible. A Spatial Implementation Plan (SIP) is also being developed for the railway station area, which will transform the area in a true site for the future.

For those wishing to learn more, please see (in Dutch only): www.brugge.be/R30stationsomgeving

Image by: Stad Brugge

Image by: Stad Brugge

Image by: Stad Brugge

This project has received funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement no 769177.

The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the CIVITAS Handshake project and in no way reflects the views of the European Commission.