The reconstruction plans for the Cogels Osylei, Antwerps famous Belle Epoque street, have been announced by Berchem District. Given the poor and dilapidated shape of the street, a thorough reconstruction is needed. Following decades of neglect and discussion, it is positive that there is a plan finally. However, designed in consultation with the Flemish De Lijn public transport company and Onroerend Erfgoed, the Flemish heritage institution, the local residents in the street have been only involved in the very latest stage of the design.

Text continues below picture. Direct link to article Gazet van Zurenborg.

Cogels Osylei: pedestrians, buses and cars trying to find their way in the street. (© Herman J. Kok)

 

While the design brings modern water management technics and more comfort for the traffic in the street, the design prioritises heavy bus traffic through this listed neighbourhood and does not respect the original street design as built in the years of the Belle Epoque. The Cogels Osylei is one of the rare examples of a late 19th Belle Epoque street with almost the full street concept including the Belgian cobblestones still in place. A unique opportunity to revive the Cogels Osylei as a historic residential street and to make a major step in upgrading the Belle Epoque history of the street is at risk of being lost for the coming decades. Article ‘Plannen voor de heraanleg Cogels Osylei raken bekend’ – Plans reconstruction Cogels Osylei announced written for Gazet van Zurenborg (2021, nr 1) elaborating on the reconstruction plans. Link to the article (in Dutch) GVZ-2021-01-hko2