Lisbon talks tough to improve road safety and traffic

in World · 04-04-2019 10:05:00 · 0 Comments

Lisbon council has announced a series of tough-talking measures to improve traffic flow and road safety throughout the city.

Measures announced include reducing the speed limit on one of Portugal’s busiest roads, shared bicycle networks in all of the capital’s parishes by 2020, more speed radars, and further tightening restrictions on vehicle pollution in the heart of the capital.


In an in-depth interview with Lusa News Agency, Mobility Councillor Miguel Gaspar said the council is considering reducing the speed limit along the main Segunda Circular ring road from the current 80km/h to 60km/h.


The restriction could be lowered even further, to 50km/h, on the section between Buraca and Fonte Nova as that is where the greatest number of accidents occur, the councillor explained.


Socialist Miguel Gaspar stated that the council is not ruling out “the possibility of assessing a greater reduction on the whole of the Segunda Circular, as indeed was done on the Eixo Norte/Sul [cross-Lisbon freeway] by road management company Infraestruturas de Portugal”.


“Although people may feel this could be detrimental to them, it is not, because not only is it safer, but the Segunda Circular can accommodate more cars at 60 km/h than 80 km/h. So, in fact, it improves flow [...] and you lose less time at peak times”, he said.


Regarding the expansion of the radar network in the capital, the councillor said that the goal is to boost numbers “from 21 to at least 40”, arguing that they are necessary to “reduce accidents in the city of Lisbon”.


The Mobility Councillor revealed that “the Municipal Police recently acquired a mobile radar, which is already starting to be used” and that it will target the roads with most accidents.


Miguel Gaspar further revealed that Lisbon council is considering increasing the protection of the capital’s city centre against the most polluting cars by using electronic surveillance.


“Our current tactic is, through the design of road hierarchy, to reduce cars in the centre, which we are trying to take even further with measures of greater protection for the centre”.


Plans are for this year are to create peripheral car parks with more than 2,500 spaces, as well as quick-charging points for electric vehicles in Entrecampos, Belém and Park of Nations.


This year alone, 55 drivers have been fined for circulating in so-called ‘zero zones’ where vehicles of certain types or ages are banned.


Neither has the council ruled out “increasing traffic restrictions in the centre”, mandated by a plan for sustainable energy and climate, which provides for the ban on all diesel cars in Lisbon city centre by 2030.


The possibility of urban tolls, however, has been scrapped, he assured.


Councillor Miguel Gaspar said he also expects the Gira municipal shared bicycle system to be fully created by 2020, when Lisbon is named European Green Capital.


Due to a delay in the implementation of the first phase of the system, which provided for 140 stations and 1,400 bicycles, the municipal company responsible for the shared bicycle network EMEL will start “straight on the entire system”, which will have 300 stations and 3,000 bicycles.


“At present we have about 500, 600, 700 bicycles; we should already have 1,400. We do not have them, because we actually had a problem with the supplier. At this moment our ambition is to launch a procedure immediately for the three thousand, which will ensure that in all parishes of the city of Lisbon there is the Gira system” said Miguel Gaspar.


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