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Handrails in Foz Velha, Source: Porto Municipality/ Filipa Brito

Porto adds handrails to some of its streets for better accessibility

Porto adds handrails to some of its streets for better accessibility

This takes into account aging populations and historical steep streets

On 3 March, the City of Porto announced the completion of a project which saw the installation of various handrails on the streets and staircases in the Foz Velha parish, located between the Douro river and the Atlantic Ocean. The work was carried out by the municipal company Gestão e Obras do Porto - GO Porto and affected 14 streets (their names are mentioned further in the text).

This intervention was motivated by a long history of complaints and difficulties experienced by people with reduced mobility who find it hard and risky to move along the picturesque but very steep streets, and especially so during and after rains.

Foz Velha was a separate village until the 19th century

Before being swallowed by the expanding Porto metropolis, Foz Velha was its own village which became a popular seaside destination for the well-to-do. Dotted with beautiful houses and winding streets it is still a popular place to live in and visit but the city authorities thought that more can be done to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility without spoiling the local charm and character.

That is why, the decision was made to manufacture and install handrails on the problematic streets. These are Travessa dos Olivais, Rua de Santo Antonino, Rua do Bom Jesus, Rua de Santa Senhorinha, Travessa Alegre, Rua da Quinta, Rua da Beneditina, Calçada da Serrúbia, Viela da Senhora da Lapa, Church Stairs, Travessa do Passeio Alegre, Rua do Sacramento, Travessa do Sacramento and stairs at Rua de Duarte Barbosa.

This non-invasive treatment was completed in 245 days at a cost of 115 000 euros and the guardrails were locally produced in a way that corresponded to the particular topography of each street.

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