Renewal of Sint-Niklaas’ city centre: on-street parking reduced by more than 50%
Developing Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) as a pedestrian and bike friendly city is one of the main objectives of the city’s mobility plan. The city centre is gradually renewed as a residential area with priority for pedestrian and cyclists . Recently road works started close to the central city square, specifically in an area that has been earmarked as a car-free zone.
Parked cars had a huge impact in the area. In total there were 86 on-street parking spaces. Research showed that a lot of the parking pressure came from local residents, teachers of the local art school and visitors of the local theatre. Together with the presence of several primary and secondary schools, this resulted in many unsafe traffic situations. After the reconstruction, only 36 on-street parking spaces (reduction of approximately 58%) are remaining in that area.
Eliminating on-street parking spaces doesn’t mean that the parking pressure simply disappears. The main focus of Sint-Niklaas’ parking policy the following years is to shift on-street parking spaces to off-street parking facilities. The strategy is not to create new or extra parking capacity in those off-street parking facilities, but to make use of existing but underused public and private parking lots.
A first agreement has already been reached with a private company who is willing to rent a part of its private parking to the city. The city will use this parking space exclusively for residents. Negotiations are now ongoing with other private owners to provide parking space for the art teachers and the visitors of the theatre.