Marvila tired of watching the train go by

The parish of Marvila has been left behind in Lisbon's mobility policies. Most trains don't stop at the parish's central station and there are no trains at the weekend. Buses don't meet residents' needs and GIRA bikes still have no space anywhere in Marvila. A group of citizens decided to get their hands dirty and present a document of proposals to the City Council and those who work in the parish.

From left to right: Luís, Adelino, Henrique, Paulo and Ernesto (LPP photo)

We're at the Marvila train station - which, in reality, is just a station. It's a winter morning, cloudy and cold. It's a weekday, so there are trains passing and stopping. On a weekend, you'd only see them passing by. Marvila is located on one of the busiest railway lines in the country, where not only all the Sintra axis trains run, but also those that make the "crown" of Lisbon, connecting the western and eastern parts of the city, as well as the municipalities of Loures and Vila Franca de Xira. It could therefore be one of the parishes best served by public transport. But the opposite is true.

"The station is emblematic of the poverty of mobility in Marvila. It's even cold while we're here"Henrique Chaves tells us. "All the services we're used to from a station or even a station are missing"This includes signage, digital public information panels, an automatic ticket office, comfortable benches and even garbage cans (there's only one). "At the weekend I've seen people waiting here, not knowing that no train was going to stop, precisely because there's no indication." Henrique is doing a doctoral thesis on neighborhood social movements in defense of active and fair urban mobility, with Marvila as the main territory of study. He collaborates with the Rés-do-Chão association, which has done architectural and participatory work in Marvila, and is involved in community groups such as 4Crescente. In 2022, he presented Participatory Study on Mobility in MarvilaA thorough diagnosis of the parish's needs.

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