Infrastructure at the institutions
At the Commission: L130 – international architectural competition
The Commission has launched an international architectural competition for a new building around the area where DG AGRI is currently located, the “L130” competition. The construction of the building is expected to take place in 2 phases, between 2025-2030 and then between 2030-2035. This project is a unique opportunity to build office space with improved accessibility for cyclists. EUCG has been complaining for years about the shortage of showers, the lack of metal cabinets where to store clothes and towels, and last but not least the shortage of bicycle parking spaces. It is thus disappointing that dedicated bike infrastructure seems to be completely absent in the competition call. If the Commission needs inspiration, no need to go far away: the building of Brussels Environment is a good example of what a modern building can offer.
How can the Commission do better with its new building?
One radical solution would be to make the building car-free. The competition foresees the construction of a parking lot but this parking lot does not need to be directly connected to the Commission offices and could instead be dedicated to the customers of the shops foreseen in the project or for paid parking; see our proposal for equal treatment of mobility modes already in 2013. If it provides no direct access to Commission offices, money could be saved on guarding costs which could then be allocated to the construction of a secure bicycle shed together with all the facilities that we are asking for.
A more consensual solution would be to make the building a net zero-emission building, taking mobility into account in the overall carbon assessment. This solution would not preclude the access of cars to the building but would presumably restrict it to electric cars recharged with renewable energy because combustion-engine vehicles emit so much CO2 that it would probably be impossible to compensate for it. It is not unrealistic to think that electric cars will have taken over in 2030 when the first phase of the building is expected to be completed.
As in any good old impact assessment, a baseline solution: free parking spaces in accordance with the limits on the number of parking spaces foreseen by present and upcoming regional regulations. The “Règlement Régional d’Urbanisme” for offices prescribes that per 200 m2 of office space, there has to be one car parking space, AND one bike parking space. New legislation in the making will stipulate 1 car parking per 200 m2, and 1 bike parking per 100 m2.
We would like to know your opinion on these possible solutions, please choose your preferred solution!
Why did you vote as you did? Let us know in the comments! For the comments to be visible, click here or on the blog-post’s title to open it up in full-page view.
We want to get to work fast and easy, don’t we… and then, all these small annoyances happen along the way. What are your major irritations when riding to work? Multiple answers are possible.
Thanks for our member C.Z. to send the suggestion for the poll! If you have ideas for future polls, let us know in e-mail, or leave a comment below.
Our first poll asked „How do you commute to work?”… it was about taking a risk a bit to ask this question, but, hugh, fortunately no surprise, the most popular is cycling, with 115 votes! Yuhee, we pedal, as expected! Full results from our poll in April 2018 are here.
At the time of writing (morning of 8 June), VeloMai 2018 is well over halfway through and we are heading towards the final phase of our collective challenge to cycle to the moon. At the time of writing (afternoon of 4 June) I see that we (about 2 479 participating cyclists from the different institutions) have already ridden about 220,000 kms, which is really impressive. However, at this rate, we will just about manage to go into orbit rather than land on the moon (reaching about 360,000 kms instead of our target of about 385,000 kms). So near and yet so far!
So, either we need to up our game and pedal more, or we should rope in a few more cyclists!
I would tend to favour the 2nd option. If we could increase the number of cyclists by about 10 % we could probably achieve the objective without putting any further pressure on existing participants… Part of the objective is to encourage newcomers to try out cycling. So encouraging those who still hesitate could be one way to make up some extra kms. Please try to support people you know in this situation. (They can sign up for safe cycling training as in VeloMai programme). Furthermore, it seems clear that a number of people who actually cycle to work regularly are not yet encoding their rides and kms, for various reasons – lack of time, don’t understand where/how to encode, consider Velomai just for new cyclists etc etc.
So if you are regularly cycling to work and/or to meetings and not yet encoding, please do so!
Or if you know someone in your sector, unit, directorate, DG, Intitution, who cycles but is apparently not encoding, please check with them. In some cases, they could be encoding but may have opted not to be visible to others. That’s OK – their rides and kms cycled still count. However, if they are not encoding perhaps you could encourage/help them to do so? They don’t have to do this, but it would be nice if they could at least help us to reach the collective objective.
Please also note that all rides/kms cycled etc. can be encoded retroactively, going back to day 1 of the challenge (18 May). This should not be too difficult for regular cyclists who pedal the same commute every day!
Furthermore, you can also enter kms cycled at weekend events featured in the programme such as the critical mass on Saturday 26 May (17.5 kms) and the BXL Tour on 17 June ( 40 kms).
So this is the VeloMai edition of our Newsletter! The updated official programme is attached again for information. We include some reports of past events- the critical mass bike ride, Emas conference on sustainable mobility, EUCG conference on ” the air that we breathe”, Medical service conference on the health benefits of cycling”, DG SANTE “basic bike tune up”, DG EAC breakfast etc. etc.
But there is still so much to see and do before the campaign ends at 12.00 in the Berlaymont on 20 June!
It’s not yet in the official VeloMai programme but also worth a visit is a trip to the cafeteria in the Charlemagne Building! On the way there you can admire the Cyclists’ photo exhibition on the walls. (see article below) I’m taking my coffee there tomorrow!
I hope to see you at some, if not all, of these events!
Paul Murphy, EUCG President
[Appeared at the beginning of the Newsletter May 2018 – full newsletter sent in e-mail to the membership]
Our member Piotr R. provided an extensive list of resources on health benefits of cycling and air quality. You can find it on our page here.
If you have similar resources, send it to us, and can share it with all members here.
EUCG cooperates with Billy Bike, to offer a trial for EU employees during Velomai 2018.
- Billy Bike is a Brussels based start-up, offering free-floating bike sharing services with e-bikes.
- The pickup-and-park map covers most EU buildings. One can use the bike anywhere, but must be parked at the end in the blue zone.
- You get 150 minutes free during the trial during VeloMai 2018 (to be used until 15 June 2018, afterwards: usage at normal rates).
Who is this for?
- “I like bike sharing, but don’t like cycling uphill”: the motor helps you get up there.
- “I would like to try out e-bikes finally, at my own pace, without time limitations”: Billy Bike is an e-bike like all others.
- “I want to support making Brussels more bike friendly”: every ride on a bike is a ride made the green way, this service could complement well Villo!.
What we think about Billy Bike
Many of us in EUCG already have used the bikes in the last year a couple of times, it works well – in fact the idea to cooperate came from enthusiastic EUCG members. Also, we got to know the Billy Bike team in the course of making Brussels bike friendly in the past years, and our impression was that they are cool people, have both an interest to make Brussels better, but of course make the company grow and are serious about both. So, we are really happy for this cooperation to promote biking via this way. The service is still in a Beta phase, and it lives the lives of the typical start-ups, we hope they will grow and stay strong. As of today, already 40 EU employees signed up, and contribute to the success.
Sign up on this link, with your work e-mail.
Last updated: 30 May 2018
Dear EUCG member,
On 18 May the Velomai 2018 challenge was launched under suitably sunny conditions and above is the “photo de famille” taken in the shade of the Berlaymont!
The collective, inter-institutional bike race to the moon is on and, so far, over 1600 colleagues have taken up the challenge. Thus, after a few days, with the help of the participating institutions, we have just about equalled the overall total of participants reached by the end of the month last year in the Commission alone. However, to reach the moon, we need the help of many more participants. So if you haven’t already signed up, please do so and if you know of friends or colleagues who already cycle or who could potentially try out cycling, please encourage them to join in!
In addition to the friendly competition of the challenge, there is an incredible number of cycling events planned ( see full programme open to all EU staff below). Some of you took advantage of the long weekend to cycle from Schuman to Overijse and back for the family day. By all accounts it was a cheerful trip, led by a knowledgeable guide who provided lots of interesting information along the way .Once in Overijse, the cyclists got to shake hands with Commissioner Oettinger. Some participants would like to see the experience repeated on a regular basis during future VeloMai campaigns. ( see photo below).
In this flash I would like to highlight some upcoming events that deserve your support. The full programme of events open to all EU staff is also attached.
VeloMai 2018 program suggestions – 28 May 2018
1. Bike maintenance training
28 May 13:00 ( currently not listed in the Velomai main programme; trainer EUCG member Jean-Marie Misztela)
Workshop on “Basic tune-up and preventive maintenance: How to solve/tune-up indexation.” . Free of charge and only 30 mn in front of DG SANTE, Belliard 232, parking on corner with rue Breydel 4. Link
Have fun in learning how to become autonomous into fixing basic problems in your bicycle.
– How to tune-up the indexation (speed change for front chainrings and back chainwheels) and the brakes (wear, alignment, cables and housings condition)
– How to detect if your chain / chainring / chainwheel will be worn soon and need a replacement
– What is the correct pressure to inflate your tires. How to avoid definitely the punctures.
– How to inspect all safety points on your bike.
– Where to get advices on the web, forums
If your bike has a problem, you can bring it to get advice.
Venue : DG SANTE B232, 4 rue Breydel
On the pavement beside the parking entrance at 4 rue Breydel. ( on the corner with rue Belliard) In case of rain we go inside the parking.
If you can’t make Jean-Marie’s session you have a 2nd chance, organised by the OIB, on 1 June 2018:
2. Lunchtime conference on the health benefits of cycling
3. EUCG/AMC.7 cycling courses in how to bike in traffic on 30 May, 05, 06, 12 and 13 June 2018
Register by email to HR AMC SC11 FIT AT WORK ( with “bike in traffic” in the title)
4. Celebrate 20 years of critical mass in Belgium
Saturday 26 May 2018, 14:00-17:00 Critical Mass Brussels Bike Ride (external event)
Meeting at Park Cinquantenaire. More info: Critical Mass Belgium
5. Billy bike offer to EU staff
Why not try out an e-bike for free for a short period ( free minutes)? Please find on the link to our article and lint to get free minutes for e-bike sharing in Brussels (Billy Bike): VeloMai 2018 EUCG – Billy.Bike cooperation
6. VeloMai programme open to all EU staff:
Dear EUCG member,
It gives me great pleasure to invite you and your bike to attend the VeloMai 2018 Inter-institutional Bike-to-Work Challenge official opening, starting at 12.45 this Friday, 18 May, on the Berlaymont Esplanade!
At 13.00. Bernard Magenhann, Deputy Director-General in DG HR will officially launch the challenge. A senior official from the Committee of the Regions will also speak. EP and Council representatives will also be present.
In view of the expected dry weather on Friday, the event is expected to take place outdoors on the Berlaymont Esplanade. In particular, at about 13.30, there will be a group photo of EU staff with their bikes in celebration of the launch of this month-long festival of cycling.
The EUCG will also have a stand, along with OIB, DG HR Fit@work, EMAS, and others.
The current VELOMAI programme, along with info on Bike ride to Overijse (Mon 21 May 2018) and Conference on air quality (4 june) are also included in this flash information.
Hoping to see you on Friday!
2. Monday 21 May 2018: Bike ride to Overijse “Schuman To Schuman” (extra event – not listed in current VeloMai programme)
Monday 21 May (public holiday – Family day of the EC at CIE).
Roundtrip by bicycle (with private bicycle ). So for confirmed cyclists (~40 kms roundtrip).
Departure Schuman 15h – Arrival CIE ~ 16h30.
Departure CIE 18h – Arrival Schuman ~ 19h30
Register via HR FIT AT WORK.
3. Lunchtime Conference on air quality – AirCasting results – rue Philippe le Bon 3, room 4.56 , on 4 June 2018, 12.30-14.00
A large group of EUCG members participated in the citizen-science project AirCasting to measure PM 2.5 and PM 10. How did this affect their daily commute? What did they learn about air quality in Brussels? What do they suggest for us in general?