In comments to a conference on sustainable mobility in Lisbon, José Sá Fernandes said that “much of the main network” would be concluded in the first half of 2017, while "some areas” could slip into late 2017 or even the start of 2018.

Lisbon currently has 60 kilometres of cycle paths: along the north bank of the Tagus, in a ring from Benfica in the north-west to Braço de Prata in the east, a central axis, routes in Olivais, the exterior circular route, and also the route from Alcântara to Luz.

This "main network will be complemented with a secondary network”, Sa Fernandes explained, adding that the goal is “to unite the entire city”.

He declined to state how much the network would cost.

For the long term, Sá Fernandes said, "the most ambitious objective” for the network is to link it to the wider Greater Lisbon area. Among possibilities under discussion are links with the neighbouring municipalities of Loures, Amadora, Odivelas and Oeiras, through Monsanto forest park and along the river.

"Many of the municipalities already have stretches done,” he said.

“Sometimes you just have to bring them together.”

He promised an update at the end of October, but stressed that public tenders are already being invited.

João Dias, director of city parking company EMEL, also spoke at the session, on the topic of the new shared bicycle system planned for next year.

This is to have a total of 1,410 bicycles distributed among 140 docks: 92 in the centre of the city, 27 in the downtown Baixa area and along the river, 15 at the Parque das Nações, the former Expo 98 site, and six on the central axis.

Once the system is set up, users will be able to hire bikes via a mobile phone app, which is to include real-time information on availability at each dock.