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Coimbra residents will be able to reach the Atlantic Ocean on bike

Coimbra residents will be able to reach the Atlantic Ocean on bike

The beach is 50 kilometres away, but cycling to get to it will not be an issue

Last week, the municipalities of Coimbra, Montemor-o-Velho and Figueira da Foz signed an interadministrative contract for the delegation of powers to the Intermunicipal Community of Coimbra region to advance with the Mondego Cycle Route. The project, which should be launched by the end of the year, will connect Coimbra to Figueira da Foz, going along the entire Mondego River valley.

In effect, that means that people from Coimbra will be able to reach the Atlantic coast, located some 50 kilometres away, simply by using a bicycle. That has been a long-standing vision of the residents and local administration.

Will cycling paths become the new highways?

The contract in question was signed at the Coimbra City Hall, in the presence of the Portuguese Minister of Environment and Climate Action, João Pedro Matos Fernandes. He drew additional attention by stressing that it was necessary to continue to invest in mobility options that have low pollutant emissions.

Reportedly, these were more than the usual nice words coming from a politician. Mr Matos Fernandes noted that his government has an available budget of around 300 million euros to build a thousand kilometres of similar intercity bike paths by the year 2030. “This is a big project and it is more than just a bike path for leisurely cycling,” he insisted.

In the Coimbra municipality itself, the Mondego Cycle Route will see the execution of about 11km of bike lanes. The route will start at the Açude-Ponte, where it will connect to the 20 kilometres of bike paths that already exist and that go to Vale das Flores and Portela. Downstream, this new section will follow the left bank of the river, next to Estrada do Campo, to the limit of the municipality with Montemor-o-Velho. There it will connect to the remaining cycling path to the Atlantic coast at Figueira da Foz.

Counting the existing and projected routes, Coimbra will soon have more than 50km of cycling paths fully interconnected with each other. They will and do provide access from the peri-urban areas to the urban core. Their main route points include hospitals, colleges, schools, commercial and service centers, and sports facilities.

The above echoes the words of the Minister Matos Fernandes that the new infrastructure should not be thought of as a leisurely space but a truly practical mobility solution for daily life.

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