Houses of center Lisbon bird view

The aim is to reduce car traffic, pollution and the deterioration of quality of life.

Lisbon City Council is preparing a change to the traffic in the city center. In the future, car traffic in Baixa will only be for residents and electric cars. The confirmation came from the vice-president of the municipality, Filipe Anacoreta Correia, in an interview with “Público”.

The aim is to “substantially reduce car traffic, pollution and the deterioration of quality of life”, in order to also meet environmental requirements. “What we’ve seen is that it’s possible today, through new technologies – this is already happening in Madrid, for example – for people to go to the territory as long as they go to a parking lot. So we know that the public space is restricted to residents and also to electric cars, as a way of differentiating and encouraging the circulation of non-polluting cars,” he said.

The mayor also recalled that Lisbon already has two Low Emission Zones (ZER), where cars are banned before certain dates, but “it hasn’t had any consequences.

“What I want is to have rings around the city that determine which measures are environmentally friendly, namely to prevent non-residents from bringing cars into the city that are mainly polluting. These measures have to be scheduled, but they also have to be monitored. It’s not enough to proclaim to present the rings,” said Anacoreta Correia.

In order to meet the objectives, the Reduced Emissions Zone will be extended from its current limits, Marquês de Pombal and Baixa, to include “the historic riverside area”. Substantially reducing car traffic is necessary to reduce pollution, but the mayor doesn’t want the area to be turned into an “amusement park for tourists”.

“The city models that we have studied and evaluated in Europe tell us that measures to break up certain territories that are of a certain size end up fostering what are known as ‘Disneylands’, which are territories that are not inhabited, that are mainly tourist areas and, therefore, we don’t think that this is the ideal model,” he says. For Anacoreta Correia, it should continue to be possible to access these territories, whether for residents or workers.

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