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Porto extends efforts in pedestrianization

By expanding pedestrian-priority zones, the city ensures locals can keep their distance from each other

  • May 28, 2020 17:30
  • Author Anton Stoyanov
Medium porto 2379571 1280

Mixing the need for social distancing with climate protection can be tricky – but also extremely lucrative in terms of protecting not only the environment but also the health of citizens. In the Portuguese city of Porto, local authorities are successfully achieving both of these goals by incorporating pedestrian-priority zones into current traffic conditions, thereby increasing the space available to citizens when they’re outside and allowing them to keep a safe distance from each other.

Health and environmental benefits

The so-called areas of coexistence within the city’s Atlantic Avenues, have allowed pedestrians to be able to adhere to social distancing measures, while also keeping some form of traffic alive, thereby giving people to opportunity to get where they need to be without having to go around and seek different paths.

The areas of coexistence, in essence, give pedestrians a larger area on which they can spread themselves out by ensuring their safety through the imposition of severe limitations to the maximum speed of vehicles. The regime is active on Saturdays between 2 PM and 7 PM and on Sundays between 9 AM and 7 PM. In these hours, cars will be able to drive with a maximum speed of 20 kilometres per hour, thereby ensuring the safety of pedestrians.

In order to make sure that vehicles obey the new regulations, the municipality of Porto has bolstered signalling in these areas that make sure that everyone knows the rules and follows them. It is especially important for vehicle drivers to adhere to the new regulations as that is the only way to ensure the physical safety of pedestrians, who due to the pandemic have been in far greater need of space in order to adhere to social distancing measures. 

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