Lagoa takes a step towards greater mobility

Lagoa Câmara has pledged to invest in the community and create a wheelchair friendly area.

A document will be signed between the câmara and the Associação Portuguesa de Planeamento do Território, Portuguese association of land planning and the Rede Nacional de Cidades e Vilas com Mobilidade para Todos (REDE), the national network of cities and towns with mobility for all, in an effort to make the area more accessible for wheelchair users and elderly and pregnant pedestrians.

In the past three years REDE has converted at least 80 câmaras across the country to sign an agreement to make their respective areas easier to access for wheelchair users, the elderly and pregnant women.

To date, the Algarve has been one of the most responsive regions, with Lagoa becoming the 10th signatory out of the region’s 16 câmaras.

Vila Real de Santo António, Loulé, Albufeira, Tavira and Portimão signed the document in 2004, Castro Marim, Faro and Lagos in 2005 and Silves in September 2006.

REDE encourages câmaras to implement change in the construction sector and encourage building firms to have wheelchair access and facilities before permission is granted for projects to go ahead. Under REDE’s guidance, existing urban and rural spaces are modernised to allow the less mobile ease of access into the community.

After signing the agreement with REDE, Lagoa Câmara will implement structural changes to the towns and villages as well as promote social inclusion of wheelchair bound citizens. Campaigns will be launched to inform civilians about the problems facing the less mobile and encourage compassion towards them in the hope of improving society’s tolerance of others.

Lagoa Câmara announced that it had already initiated many projects that would alter the façade of the city of Lagoa to make it accessible to all citizens.

Pavements will be lowered to become near level to roads, public buildings will be fitted with wheelchair access and washrooms will be situated on ground floors to make life easier for  the wheelchair bound, elderly and heavily pregnant.

Disabled parking will be an important issue for the câmara as well as audible warnings at pedestrian crossings for the blind.

The document is set to be signed next year as part of phase four of the candidacy programme along with a number of other câmaras across the country.