by CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]
Retaining Portela airport, modernising and not expanding Lisbon’s docks, improving Praça de Espanha and traffic flows around Campo Grande, Saldanha, Picoas and Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo with underpasses are just some of the pledges that Lisbon Câmara presidential candidate Pedro Santana Lopes will undertake if elected at the forthcoming municipal elections on October 11.
Other pledges include clearing prostitutes from Monsanto Park and re-opening nine Lisbon municipal swimming pools that have been closed for years.
Dr Pedro Santana Lopes talked about the differences between what he termed the current Câmara President Dr António Costa’s “micro-projects for Lisbon” and his own “macro projects” at a Lisbon lunch, an initiative of the German Chamber of Commerce, which also joined members of the British, Dutch and French Chambers of Commerce.
Dr António Costa’s projects were “small scale” projects that had included sprucing up Lisbon’s belvederes, putting old-world beverage kiosks around the city’s squares, doing up some of the city’s parks and green spaces but carrying out these cosmetic works “right on top of the elections”.
Referring to projects that affected the management of the “day-to-day living of Lisbon residents”, Pedro Santana Lopes mentioned significant plans to improve traffic flow on the city’s road networks.
“Lisbon is a complicated city in terms of mobility, with a network of streets that are very narrow, unlike cities with large and wide avenues such as Barcelona,” he said.
“We value pedestrians and cyclists and need more cycle lanes but we can’t develop prejudices against cars. Yes, we need public transport, yes, we need non-polluting transport fuel, but we cannot conceive projects for a world that doesn’t even exist yet.”
The existing Marquês, Campo Grande and João XXI underpass tunnels had helped improve traffic flows but the Marquês Tunnel project only made sense in the context of further tunnels to ease traffic congestion at Fontes Pereira de Melo, Saldanha and Avenida da República with ambitious modernisation plans for both Praça de Espanha and Praça Duque de Saldanha.
The PSD candidate said “no” to extending Lisbon’s docks and more shipping container parks at Alcântara. The Tejo riverfront should, he said, be focused on leisure, tourism and cruise ship facilities.
He defended a third river Tejo crossing between Chelas and Barreiro if it carried the TGV and a conventional rail line while arguing for more car parks at public transport interface stations and the setting up of a new Metropolitan Transport Authority.
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