OIB and DG HR released earlier this month the results of their latest staff survey on mobility. Some interesting results, albeit somewhat disappointing: the number of cyclists and people walking to work has increased but this seems to be at the expense of the number of people using public transport rather than at the expense of private cars. This suggests that the institutions could do more to encourage people to give up their private cars. The current incentive is limited to a 50% subsidy on season STIB and SNCB passes, basically a few ten euros per month. Cyclists also get access to free parking and showers (in most buildings) but no lockers (with a few exceptions) to store spare clothes and a towel. Pedestrians get nothing, despite having to pay presumably higher rents/mortgages in order to live close to their office. The EU Cyclist Group has argued that this is not a fair treatment as motorists have access to free parking, which is a hidden subsidy worth over €100/month. They went on and proposed a series of 10 measures to encourage cycling (see pg5 of EUCG’s July 2017 newsletter). Some of their proposals are consensual: for instance, providing bike parking for at least 20 bikes for every 100 cars in a garage should be easy since a bike parking space takes a fraction of a car parking space and it is required by regional legislation anyway (see Annex 3 of pdf); changing rooms and lockers would cost peanuts compared to the operating cost of a parking lot. More modestly, Generation 2004 has also argued that reserved parking space should be abolished (see pg4 of newsletter).
No-one has the perfect solution to mobility problems in Brussels, but it seems that involving the staff in the preparation of the new Commission mobility plan for Brussels that is due for the beginning of 2018 would be a good idea. For that reason, the president of the Brussels Local Staff Committee (one of our members!) is trying to engage the staff in discussing mobility. A high level conference will take place on Friday 24 November with the participation of Pascal Smet, Minister in charge of mobility in the Brussels region. Commissioner Oettinger was also invited but could not attend and will be represented by OIB. We do count on his support, however. We hope that you will be interested in this conference. If you have suggestions that you believe could be pushed by a staff organisation like ours, contact us (keep in mind that even though some active members of Generation 2004 are open to radical solutions, our organisation can only support proposals that are agreeable to the majority of staff). And don’t forget to sign the petition for clean air in Brussels!