Tiles and asphalt out, plants in. The Kanaalweg in Middelburg (NL) is being made greener. Then the consequences of climate change – more heat, heavier rain – can be better absorbed. And then it might also become that strolling boulevard that it should have been already.

The Canal cuts through Walcheren and Middelburg. That blue vein always provides cooling on hot days. But the Kanaalweg is a plain of tiles, asphalt and concrete. What that means on hot days, you could feel on Wednesday. That is why it is necessary to make the road greener.

The road remains an important arterial road. However, the stone boulevard along the canal is narrowed by half. A paved footpath remains, but an elongated green strip will be created between the trees and the road, from the Schroebrug to the office of the water board. By removing tiles between the trees, the roots also have more space and the trees will also grow faster, it is expected. And those in turn provide more shade.

The station area will also be redesigned and made greener. Two lanes for traffic that wanted to turn to Stationsbrug are no longer necessary. They are therefore making way for green beds. The space between the cycle path and the roadway will also become a green strip.

Heavy rain showers

Greenery absorbs the heat and, together with the trees that are already there, provides cooling. It is no coincidence that the renovation is partly paid for with a European subsidy from the Cool Towns project. The green areas also help to collect rainwater. After all, that is another consequence of climate change: heavier rainfall. It is difficult for all that water to find its way into the soil when there are stones and asphalt everywhere.

The municipality encourages residents of the petrified city center to create facade gardens, to remove tiles and to put plants in them. The Kanaalweg is an ideal place for that. Work has now started and will be completed by the end of this year. The pedestrian promenade along the Kanaalweg was once designed in such a way as to turn it into a boulevard, a place to stroll. But it never got that function. That could well be a nice side effect of the greening: so it can still become a promenade boulevard.