Lisbon Downtown Closed to Traffic from August Onwards

Fri 31 Jan 2020

Several streets of Baixa and Chiado will become pedestrian. The central part of Av. da Liberdade will be partially closed to traffic. Rua da Escola Politécnica and Rua de S. Bento will also be changed. Platform cars like Uber or Bolt will only be allowed to circulate in Baixa if they are electric.

This is an authentic revolution that is about to take place in Lisbon. Arriving by own car in Baixa will be forbidden for most drivers from the summer and other interventions are planned in several places around the historic center with the aim of reducing the number of cars, increasing the pedestrian space and making life easier for public transport.

The new Reduced Emission Area Avenida Baixa Chiado (ZER ABC), which should be fully in place by August, extends from Rossio to Praça do Comércio and from Rua do Alecrim to Rua da Madalena. Only authorized vehicles may circulate in this area - it is mandatory to have a label and that the car complies with the Euro 3 standard (after 2000). During the daytime period, between 6.30 a.m. and midnight, there will be access checks and penalties for those who fail to comply.

Currently, 100 thousand vehicles per day enter downtown Lisbon and the Municipal Chamber expects a reduction of 40 thousand vehicles with the introduction of these measures. "All this has been worked on for almost two years", said Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon, this Friday when presenting the plan. "We really need to make this intervention", he argued, arguing that air pollution is one of the main factors of serious illness and premature death. In this chapter, he said, Lisbon has little to be proud of, as the legal limits for fine particles and polluting gases are often exceeded in the city centre. According to the mayor, the restrictions on car traffic in downtown are expected to result in a reduction in emissions of around 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

These restrictions are accompanied by work on several arteries. Rua Nova do Almada (from Largo da Boa Hora) and Rua Garrett will be completely pedestrianized, Rua da Prata and Largo do Chiado will also be without cars and only with public transport. In Rua dos Fanqueiros and Rua do Ouro new bike lanes will be created through the elimination of car traffic. There will also be interventions in Rua de S. Pedro de Alcântara (in the narrow section that surrounds the Church of São Roque) and in Largo do Calhariz. Both arteries will be used exclusively by public transportation.

This Friday's session was the first in which this project was publicly discussed, which will only now be presented in more detail to the parish councils, residents and traders. Fernando Medina promises to start the public debate in February and wants to have regulation and the rest of the bureaucratic process completed by the end of March. From May they open the registrations to obtain a label. In June and July, ZER will already be up and running, but still "with informative and awareness-raising character".

Read the original article here.

See how the center of Lisbon will look here.

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