Many committed inhabitants of Laken participated in the creation of the election manifesto of Change.Brussels. Below you can find a number of proposals that are specific for Laken. Our ideas to improve the cleanliness and safety of Laken and to make sure that living here remains affordable, are not treated in this document, but in our general progamme.
Create “green routes” that connect the many parks and important places in Laken. Routes on which you can cycle and walk in a pleasant and safe environment without interruptions and where you encounter as few cars as possible. The “green routes” connect the pedestrian precinct in the centre of Brussels with the museum KANAL and then leads through Laken via two routes starting at Sainctelette square. The first route ends at the Japanese tower; the second route follows the Leopold II laan and ends at the Koninklijke Halte (the King’s railway station) close to the canal.
How? By creating the missing links and filling the gaps on the routes. More precisely:
By building safe cycling infrastructure and safe crossings along the whole trajectory
By slowing down traffic on the larger and busier streets by buildings roundabouts. We will turn these roundabouts into small parks with trees, benches and sculptures.
By creating a “green route” starting at the Bockstael metro station running through the first part of the Rue des Artistes, through the (currently inaccessible) park/via the pond next to the Prins Karelsquare, then continuing right through the Draps Domstraat passing via the (currently inaccessible) Donderberg to the site of the (currently inaccessible) old cultivation greenhouses. The route continues to the Tuinen van de Bloemist/Jardins du Fleuriste and the other parks (see study by “Brussel stedenbouw en erfgoed”)
By building a walkway that connects the narrow end of the (future) final part of the park Tour & Taxis with the Rue Lanneau continuing towards the Bockstaelplein
By creating pedestrian and cycling connections along the railway L50 up to the canal (see study “cycling infrastructure of the neighbourhood contract (wijkcontract) Bockstael”)
Making the part of the royal palace that borders on the “pocket park” Koninklijke halte (the King’s railway station) accessible for the general public
Building a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the canal at “pocket park” Koninklijke halte (linking it to the Parc de la Zenne)
Give the squares of Brussels back to its inhabitants
Turn the square in front of the Church of Our Lady of Laeken into a real parvis. Events like the soup festival and the Sunday morning market show the potential of this location. With a few simple measures we can increase this potential even more: in the future cars should not be allowed to drive around the square. We propose to turn the current one-way-street into a two-way street and to slow the traffic down with speed bumps. We propose to shield the square from the busy Koniginnelaan with high plants and hedges which would make the square a lot more pleasant and calm. The beautiful fountain on the square deserves to be working! When the renovation of the old station is finished and the Annie Cordy park has been reconstructed, this square would attract numerous visitors.
Turn the Bockstaelplein back into a real square: car free, convivial and animated. The cars make way for a kiosk, benches, greenery and better lighting. With atmospheric lighting we will highlight the historic heritage around the square. A clear and safe crossing links it to the Maria-Christinastraat.
Mobility: No to street racing and the frustrating search for a parking space
There have been way too many car accidents in Laken in the past few years. Their cause is usually excessive speeding. Racing is a problem in several different areas of Laken. Besides strict interventions by the police, we also need to invest in safe infrastructure: speed bumps, raised bicycle lanes, narrowed streets, safe, visible crossings. The speed limit should be 30 km/h Laken-wide, the streets surrounding schools are turned into “school streets”. This will simultaneously improve the quality of air.
Parking C becomes a park &ride parking during the day and at night a parking for busses, trucks and vans. Following the example of Schaerbeek we want to ban busses and vans from parking in the blue zone, because they take up too much space.
Together with the regional parking agency we want to create a car park for the neighbourhood in the Bockstael area and investigate the possibility of opening up the private car parking of stores for local residents during the night.
Promote car-sharing. To date only Cambio is active in Laken, Drive now and Zip Car are not.
The Bockstael railway station has huge potential: it provides a direct, fast connection for example to Schuman or the VUB. Currently, however, there is only one train per hour. If we want to convince people to take the train, we have to urge the NMBS to renovate the neglected railway station and to increase the frequency of line 50A.
Laken: the new place to be
Promote Laken as a destination for tourists: Every tourist should want to extend their stay in Brussels by one night because they want to spend a day in Laken. The “green routes” mentioned above has a lot of tourism potential, because it connects many of Laken’s heritage sites. This part of Brussels deserves better signage for tourists and promotion. The local youth could help with this: we train them as proud local guides.
The heritage of Laken exists to be seen! The Royal Greenhouses and the workplace of the sculptor Ernest Salu should be open to the public more frequently. The Japanese pagoda and the Chinese pavilion deserve a thorough renovation.
The city should organize more cultural activities in Laken and fewer in the centre. We are thinking of concerts, open-air cinema, artist walks etc.
We want to actively work on a bigger variety of shops in our shopping streets and avoid vacancies at all costs, for example with pop-up shops in empty shops. We propose to turn the Rue de Fransman into Laken’s culinary street with specialties from all over the world.
Whoever finally opens an approachable café with delicious coffee and a healthy lunch will make many Lakenaars happy.
Infrastructure: Endless possibilities
Laken houses many schools, but it still remains difficult for parents to find a school for their children. We need more schools (and homework classes), especially considering that many new housing projects will be finished soon (NEO, Tivoli, Tour et Taxi). The European school can make its (sport) infrastructure accessible for the neighbourhood after school hours.
The former neighbourhood antenna (wijkantenne) at Bockstaellaan 166 has the potential to become a real “house of local associations”.
Kiosks in all parks of Laken (with beverages, toilets and lockers for joggers)!
AU BORD De L’EAU at the worker’s monument is a great initiative and its future should be structurally ensured. It would also be an ideal place for a floating swimming pool on the canal.
The monumental Byrrh building in Laken is finally being renovated and turned into a hub for companies. A good thing! It should become an open house with preferably economic activities driven by the inhabitants of Laken or that answer the needs of its population (bread, organic market,…). It would also be the right place for a coding school.
NEO: de ontwikkeling van de Heyzelsite is een cruciaal dossier voor Laken
A densification of the site on its Northern side (more housing, grouping the ‘mess’ of functions);
More and better infrastructure for sport;
The extension of the Vereggat park;
The creation of a green access to the parks at the former police station at Houba Destrooperlaan;
A stop to through traffic and parking in the area of the Atomium;
The huge investments in public transport.
We are worried about:
The shopping mall: it is way too big;
The impact on mobility: many visitors will come by car and the motorway is already congested most of the time today;
The lack of investment in collective infrastructure (more precisely schools);
And – in case it is put back on the table: a car access to the site leading through Osseghempark is completely unacceptable!
A city council that prioritizes Laken
We want to add a section to the city’s budget that makes the investments of the city per neighbourhood transparent (how much does Laken get?)
The opening hours and the administrative services that the administrative antenna in Laken offers should be extended
We create a citizens’ counter where citizens can apply for a neighbourhood budget. The budget can be used to make the neighbourhood more beautiful, to put vacant spaces to use, to create a ‘livable street’ or any other initiative that brings the neighbourhood together. We will make the procedure as transparent and simple as possible. We will work on the basis of trust: the inhabitants receive the money before the project takes place and have to justify the costs afterwards. The amounts available have to be high enough to do something with them.