Tag Archive for: congestion

‘We leave peace behind and face noise with fear’

After 50 years of delay, the Government has finally decided on the location of Lisbon’s new airport and considered the former Alcochete Shooting Ground (Campo the Tiro Alcochete) the best place to build the new Aeroporto Luis de Camões. An infrastructure which – according to the local tabloids – had ‘almost transformed into a national trauma.’

The decision came after an extensive study made by the Independent Technical Commission (CTI), that evaluated numerous sites, including Santarem, Montijo, Vendas Novas, Pegões, Rio Frio and Beja, amongst others.

Alcochete, in the Setúbal district, proved to be the best option as it is located on public land – some 3400 hectares – and relatively close (45 km) to the capital. The first runway will be constructed by 2030 and the airport should be concluded in ten years.

In the meantime, the capacity of Lisbon’s overcrowded Aeroporto Humberto Delgado will be increased to 45 departures and arrivals per hour by investing around 300 million euros in terminals and accessibility, to ensure the current airport can cope with the increasing number of passengers until the new Luis de Camões airport is built. 

At the same time, the government decided to build a third bridge for trains and cars. This Third Tagus Crossing – Terceira Travessa do Tejo (TTT ) – which connects Chelas (Lisbon) with Barreiro (Setúbal), will ease traffic from the two other Lisbon bridges (25 de Abril and Vasco da Gama) and shorten trips to or from the southern Algarve province.

Finally, a high-speed railway connection between Lisbon and Madrid – a requisite of the Iberian / Moroccan deal to organize the 2030 Football World Cup – will have to be linked to the new airport. All this has very strict timelines, not least the Lisbon-Madrid high-speed rail, which has to be completed in time six years from now.

The objective is to construct an airport with a capacity to accommodate up to 100 million passengers per year after 2050, with ample space for two further runways. The costs of the airport don’t include the third bridge over the Tejo and the railway links. These are to be paid separately and supervised by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing.

The investment for the construction of the new airport has been calculated at over 6,1 billion euros, involving 2 runways to start with, the first to be concluded in 2030 (costs at least 3.3 billion) and the second (costs 2.8 billion) to be ready by 2031.

In Santo Estêvão (St Stephen) – a village of approximately 2100 inhabitants and closest to the future airport – the opinions are divided. There are those who expect ‘more employment and improvement of the infrastructure’, but also those who ‘fear the noise and increase in the cost of living.’   

Have a great week         Tenha uma ótima semana      (pic Público/Sapo)

The Lisbon metropolis – with 18 municipalities –  accommodates about 2.8 million inhabitants, who all seem to have the same addiction: their car! Unfortunately, a still growing number of Portuguese use the car at the expense of public transport,  5 times less utilized for commuting.

Each day 370.000 vehicles drive into the capital, in general with only the driver inside.
Most cars enter Lisbon from the south of the Tagus – via the A2 and A12 – and via the northern A1.

The third busiest route is the A5 from the famous seaside town of Cascais, also called ‘the death road’ because of the high number of fatal accidents every year.

These large numbers of automobiles not only provoke endless traffic jams in the center but also severe air pollution. Diesel cars are by far the most sold and emissions of nitrogen oxide in Portuguese cities are 8 times above the European standard. Even higher than in urban Germany.

Furthermore, the number of fatal accidents to pedestrians –mainly to people over 65 years of age – is increasing and nowadays the highest in the past five years.

The solution to reducing the use of cars seems straightforward: create alternatives! With this in mind, Fernando Medina, Lisbon’s mayor, advocates a radical reduction in the cost of public transport (metro, bus), extend the number of bus lanes in the metropole and –by means of state funding – enable a free bus lane on the A5 between Cascais and Lisbon.

But the government should do much more. Only 15% of public transport in Portugal is subsidized, compared to 50% in the EU. Moreover, cycling has to be encouraged and the network of cycle paths expanded. Today only a tiny fraction (1%) of the population uses their bicycle for commuting, compared to 7% in the rest of Europe.

The fact that Lisbon has recently won the European Green Capital Award for 2020 creates expectations.
Now it has to be done.

Bom fim de semana         Enjoy the weekend        
(pic Expresso/Sapo/Público)