RADICAL AND dramatic plans for the complete renovation of Lagos’ famous waterfront have been made public for the first time.
The proposed scheme will run from the courthouse all the way to Forte da Ponta da Bandeira and, if it goes ahead, will see an end to parking along the Avenida dos Descobrimentos, the removal of the car park on the Rua da Barroca and a general “re-joining” of the city with the Ribeira de Bensafrim with high priority given to pedestrian areas.
Traffic will still be allowed to pass along the Avenida dos Descobrimentos, but “in a much more controlled way”. The details of the scheme are contained in a preliminary study carried out by A 400, the engineering company charged with the task of developing a new image for the city’s riverside zone. According to António Barbosa, leader of the A 400 team, the scheme, which comes within the Lagos Programa Pólis, is principally designed to resolve problems resulting from the present “disorganised use” of the waterfront space, which has, in his opinion, become a “deposit of visual pollution” and a kind of “motor show that virtually obscures Lagos’ buildings and heritage”.
According to the preliminary study, the parking problem would be resolved by the construction of a two-level, subterranean, 500-space car park directly beneath the present Rua da Barroca car park which is, in turn, to be transformed into a leisure area, part of which would be covered in wooden planking to resemble the deck of a caravel, with restaurant, bars and activities spaces.
The study also proposes pathways, landscaping, lawns, a subterranean maritime museum and the re-appointing of some of the zone’s historical landmarks.
School teacher Carla Santos, a lifelong Lagos resident, welcomed the new proposals saying: “The project will revitalise the entire waterfront area and, I hope, return to it some of the importance it had centuries ago, during the great age of the Portuguese Discoveries, when it was the point of departure and arrival for the famous caravels and where many of the spices, foods and materials we now take for granted arrived in Europe for the first time.”