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Rua Ferreira Borges redeveloped without streetcar tracks and bike lane

The main thoroughfare in Lisbon's Campo de Ourique neighborhood is going to get comfortable and accessible sidewalks, safer crosswalks and benches to sit on. But on a street where 6,000 cars pass every day, nothing will be done to reduce this traffic.

The proposal for Rua Ferreira Borges (illustration via CML)

According to Lisbon City Hall estimates, around 6,000 cars circulate daily on Rua Ferreira Borges, the main road in the Campo de Ourique neighborhood. It's not known how many of these vehicles are local traffic and how many represent commuter traffic (i.e. they're just using the street to get in and out of the city and don't belong to the neighborhood). In any case, the municipality does not intend to change the paradigm: the Rua Ferreira Borges will continue to have the mostly automobile profile it has todayIn the requalification now being presented to the public, which is scheduled for 2024/25.

The revitalization of Campo de Ourique's main street will involve the pull out the streetcar tracks, currently disused and dilapidatedand the granite cube floor. In turn, a smooth asphalt floorThis will make circulation more comfortable for cars, but essentially for motorcycles and bicycles. The cobbled surface that characterizes the street so well will only be kept in the parking area.

Excerpt from the proposed redevelopment of Rua Ferreira Borges (via CML)

In addition, the work on Rua Ferreira Borges will focus on pedestrian mobilitythe tours will now have a level ground in lioz stone slabs, which will give more comfort when walking and that will help avoiding fallsThis comfortable paving will be accompanied by cobblestone in the dead or less-used areas, thus maintaining part of the city's identity. The sidewalk will have decorative elements, giving Ferreira Borges its own design. On the other hand, all crosswalks (crosswalks) will now be accessiblewith lowering and the installation of tactile guides, and saferThis is done by extending the pedestrian space into the road zone in order to reduce the crossing distance (and therefore the exposure time to road traffic).

The municipality is also going to revise the traffic lights to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the road, refurbish the tree trunks, place benches along the street to provide rest areas, optimize loading and unloading in order to avoid stopping on the road, and take advantage of the work to change the public sewage system and telecommunications infrastructure, removing the wires from the buildings.

The redevelopment proposal (via CML)

After the redevelopment, walking along the main artery of the Campo de Ourique parish will be better for walking, socializing and shopping. Lisbon City Council promises this work, increase the circulation of people on foot and thus boost local commerce in Ferreira Borgeswhere there are around 80 establishments and three kiosks; it also promises to improving pedestrian and road safety e provide a better quality of life for residents by providing a more pleasant and comfortable public space. On the other hand, with the laying of the new asphalt floor to replace the cobbled one, we are promised a noise reduction.

You can see below the presentation and project for the redevelopment of Rua Ferreira Borges, as presented to the public:

The diagnosis of the City Council and the Junta

In its diagnosis, the council points out that Ferreira Borges has uneven sidewalks, degraded pedestrian and road sidewalks, no lowered crosswalks at most intersections, several physical obstacles to pedestrian mobility, and pathologies in the sewage system.

Lisbon City Council Diagnosis (via CML)

Part of this diagnosis had already been carried out by the Campo de Ourique Parish Council between 2020 and 2021. Its president, Pedro Costa, had made Ferreira Borges one of his priorities and promoted a discussion with the population about the future of the street. The result was a report with the street's problems and some suggestions, as well as a preliminary study (proposal) for redevelopment.

The proposal presented by the Parish Council (via JF Campo de Ourique)

Aspects such as "the street floor needs to be replaced" or the "repairing the sidewalks with the addition of comfortable flooring" had also been part of the diagnosis drawn up by the Parish Council together with the population. With regard to the rail, this participatory process included "a large majority" calling for its withdrawal and, at the same time, a "a small but relatively well-structured minority" asking not only for it to be maintained, but also for the "reactivation of the line that would allow the circular connection of the 24 and 28 lines that run perpendicular to the Rua Ferreira Borges axis".

The participatory process promoted by the Campo de Ourique council also recorded "a minority position on the removal of one direction of traffic for the installation of a cycle path"something that, in the report, is immediately pushed onto the "long term" and for another possible intervention.

The presentation of the proposal to redevelop Rua Ferreira Borges took place on September 7th at Cinema Europawithout online streaming. Open to the public, the session also served as a time for consultation, and the comments made by those present will now be taken into account by the Municipal Services in any improvements to the project. It is hoped that the project can be finalized this year, so that a public tender can be launched in 2024 to find a contractor. Work is scheduled to begin in 2024/25. The redevelopment of Rua Ferreira Borges is the responsibility of Historical Center team of the Territorial Coordination Unit (UCT) of the municipality - in other words, by the municipal unit responsible for the small major works in the area.

At that session, the first three speeches highlighted the absence of the bicycle in the redevelopment proposal. "I was wondering if no one had thought about the bicycle in this whole project. Campo de Ourique is one of the few flat neighborhoods in Lisbon and I'm surprised at how little cycling there is. I think that the redevelopment of Ferreira Borges without the bicycle makes little senseone resident lamented. "We have a lot of traffic on Ferreira Borges. They're not safeguarding the two exits, the Amoreiras exit and the Lisbon exit"said someone else, pointing out that "parking is something that could come out of Ferreira Borges". "I live in Campo de Ourique and I'm a shopkeeper here too. We don't have parking in Campo de Ourique, unfortunately. Putting in a bike lane would make the street more dynamic"he pointed out. For his part, another resident said that there were "prioritizing cars" and that it is "sloppy" a bicycle lane was not planned for that street "to reach Amoreiras, for example".

The proposal for Rua Ferreira Borges (illustration via CML)

Carlos Gaivoto, a Carris technician for over 45 years, criticized the project for "turning Rua Ferreira Borges into a unimodal axis - in essence, they just put the car there - contrary to what is being done in several European cities, where priority is given to public transport on its own site. Many of these European cities, not just the capitals, have shown that public transport on its own site is a way of redeveloping the axis". "There are concepts that contradict the strategic objectives of the city, which needs to reduce car traffic and give priority to public transport. To say that the rail is obsolete or redundant is wrong"He added that Ferreira Borges should not have a parking lot and that the traffic counts carried out "they didn't even realize" how much of this traffic is generated by the Campo de Ourique neighborhood and how much is through traffic.

Interested parties can contact those responsible for this project by e-mailing [email protected]. To contact the Campo de Ourique Parish Council, the most appropriate e-mail address is [email protected].

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