On Tuesday 12 September, Paperjam Club organised an election debate in the capital.
Photo: Maison Moderne
elections in Lux city: debate between main parties
On Tuesday 12 September, Paperjam Club invited the lead candidates of four political parties to face questions on their plans for the capital ahead of the local elections on 8 October.
Incumbent mayor, Lydie Polfer (DP), joined her current coalition partner Sam Tanson (Déi Gréng), and councillors Marc Angel (LSAP) and Serge Wilmes (CSV) on stage to answer questions by Paperjam journalist François Aulner and editor-in-chief Thierry Raizer.
While the parties agreed on many issues, such as the tram and reducing the high cost of housing, the opposition parties (LSAP and CSV) tried to demarcate themselves on several points.
Polfer said the overwhelming traffic was due to the extraordinary economic growth of the capital, which has led to a 30% rise in the population in 10 years. So many jobs had been created which were filled by people living outside the capital and across the border, and this was one of the causes of traffic jams.
She said traffic had to be completely reorganised. The aim was to have as many people as possible using the train and tram. She added that, while in the morning, buses were full, during the day they were nearly empty yet clogged up the streets.
Polfer indicated that the tram will eventually link up the Porte de Hollerich and the Heintz van Landewyck site.
Tanson was asked about the Greens’ plan to reserve the Avenue de la Gare for buses and cyclists. She said that traffic in the whole area would be reorganised in the neighbourhood of the train station. She pledged to create separate infrastructure on the main axes for cyclists. She is also banking on the car-sharing project, and announced that the number of drop-off and pick-up places would be increased.
Wilmes said that his party wanted to introduce a circular bus route which would go all around town. He wants to extend the tram line south, towards Kockelscheuer and Leudelange, and also towards Findel.
Angel said his party was in favour of reducing parking time in residential neighbourhoods from 5 hours to 2. The tram should, in his opinion, be extended to Gasperich, Strassen and Mamer.
Sam Tanson and Lydie Polfer agreed that current urban planning provides plenty of potential to build more houses. The gap between the number of jobs and residents must be reduced, said Tanson. Polfer indicated that 24% of available land had not yet been used for construction.
Angel criticised the “laissez-faire” approach of the DP, and asked for a register of empty flats, and of the housing that belongs to the city administration. He further intends to create programmes of leaseholds, and temporary lodging.
All parties agree that more social and affordable housing must be built, but the CSV went furthest, as Wilmes said the city council should double the current number of housing units it is constructing.
LSAP for more urban design
Angel pleaded to “de-mall” the city, to focus less on shopping malls and instead encourage shops to move to the city and neighbourhood centres. He also sketched out a vision to bring more aesthetic architecture to the city. He was also in favour of a tax on empty houses, and to raise property taxes on unbuilt land.
CSV: council should buy more shops
The CSV and LSAP pleaded for pre-emptive rights on shops and that the council should become much more proactive in this matter.
Meanwhile, Polfer argued that shopping malls were a good way to reduce high rents and prices, and argued that pre-emptive rights will actually increase prices.