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.