Recently, Jennifer Venne represented RealCorp at a seminar hosted by BNP Paribas where the Ministry of Sustainable Development reported on the ongoing consultations with various stakeholders re “MoDu”, their project to deal with Luxembourg’s increasing traffic issues, restore the city’s environmental and territorial integrity, and create sustainable mobility (“mobilité durable”, known as “MoDu”).
As a French resident who uses the rail network to travel to work in Luxembourg every day, I was pleased to attend this conference, because the LuxTram project affects me personally as well as professionally. The approximately 40 other attendees included landlords, asset managers, real estate agents and others, all of whom listened intently.
This mobility solution interests a wide spectrum of people in Luxembourg, from office workers to property investors to CEOs seeking better locations for their head offices or operational bases. The changes affect not only how easily people will be able to move about the city, but also which locations will be developed and improved and where new projects may be situated.
The presentation summarised the situation as follows:
The need for sustainable mobility
For 30 years, Luxembourg has experienced strong demographic and economic growth. The number of cross-border workers has also increased considerably, which has naturally engendered heavy congestion in public transport and road networks. A recent study found that a bus crosses L’Avenue de la Liberté towards the main station every 27 seconds. The Ministry of Sustainable Development was tasked with finding strategies to improve the situation
To date, three approaches have been developed:
- Increase “soft mobility”, i.e. create more coherent and efficient cycling and pedestrian networks.
- Reduce traffic through the two existing stations (Gare Centrale and Hamilius) by creating new stations at Hollerich, Place de l’Etoile, Pont Rouge, LuxExpo, etc. These hubs will be connected via the future tram network on which work is due to begin in 2014.
- Reduce the nuisances of pollution, noise, and travel time for people using individual motorized transport like cars or motorcycles. Strategies include adding several lanes to roads and highways, creating bypasses of the main roads, and promoting carpooling or car sharing.
Three initial phases of development
Railway network construction is planned to be developed in three phases:
- May 2014 to April 2017: Beginning of the works at Kirchberg Luxexpo, which will host the tram depot, and the first load tests. The first service will begin in September 2017. This will create the backbone of the tramway running from the Gare Centrale to Kirchberg LuxExpo, via Glasis, place de l’Etoile and Hamilius.
- 2017-2020: Extension of the line to Findel to ensure links with the Airport as well as the Höhenhof Park and Ride.
- 2020-2030: Extension in several directions to Gasperich, Cloche d’Or, Hollerich-Cessange, etc.
From 2030, the idea is to develop the network towards Bertrange via route d’Arlon from the Place de l’Etoile, to Leudelange from Cloche d’Or, and to Strassen from Hollerich-Cessange.
The Pont Rouge station is a major development point in the project.
It will serve the Kirchberg area for rail (one stop will be specially created after the Luxembourg Railway Station) and tram. People working in Limpertsberg, Kirchberg and other northern Luxembourg City areas will therefore stop at this station located below the red bridge. The aim is first to facilitate their access to their workplaces and secondly to reduce transport by bus or car. Passengers will be able to reach the tram or the bus via the funicular that will be installed for this purpose.
- Length of one dual string tram: 64m carrying 450 passengers; equivalent to 3 double articulated buses or 340 cars (1.3 persons per car).
- The estimated travel time from Gare Centrale to Kirchberg is 21 minutes.
Personally, I am looking forward to my first ride in one of these state-of-the-art trams and to the ease of access they promise to various parts of the city.
Professionally, I believe the expanded network will be very good for business, as several areas of the city which already have excellent buildings, and some which have great development potential, will become even more accessible and attractive.