June, 10th: 1st giant PicNic The Street

Pic Nic The Street ! Reclaim the Streets !

(A photoreport can be found at the bottom of this page.)

A general view of people during a picnic in the center of Brussels, Belgium, Sunday 10 June 2012. Belgians asked for a ‘picnic in the streets’ every weekend to protest against Brussel’s mobility problems caused by cars. Click here for the online version.

In a powerful opinion piece (published in three languages in Brussel Deze Week, Le Soir, and The Bulletin) he calls upon citizens to have a disobedient picnic every Sunday at places where cars take up an irresponsible amount of space. A number of citizens joined forces in order to spread his original message. There is neither captain nor commander in this group of people. They simply want to express their collective malcontent in a positive and constructive way.

The group wants real and high quality public spaces in Brussels. More space to stroll, to ride a bike, and to sit. The population of Brussels is increasing (annually 7000 extra families until 2020-2025) while public space is not. There is only one logical solution: a city policy creating more space for people and reduce the space for cars. Not only the citizens but also commerce and tourism will profit from these changes.

We want a liveable city, with more fresh and clear air for us and our children. Today 18% of the Brussels’ community surface area is taken up by traffic infrastructure. In Brussels over 70% of a traditional street is intended for mechanized traffic. Other big European cities have come to understand that the era of the omnipresent car has come to an end. Why is Brussels still playing deaf ?

It is Brussels’ duty as capital of Europe, to take on its leader role and to create squares and arteries without cars, with more safe public spaces and more green. We are picnicking because we want more carless avenues and a real Place de Brouckère and Place de la Bourse. A master plan for the central avenues (from North to South station) is already lying on the Brussels politicians’s desk since 2004. We do not accept any more delay!

The rest of the city has to follow as well. All the inhabitants and visitors of this city are entitled to high quality, green, and safe public spaces. The government, whatever party or institutional power, is also held responsible for this stagnation, lack of ambition and vision typical for Brussels today.

This Sunday we reclaim our space! Reclaim the streets!


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