20 Sep

Sustainability "Within Doors" in Póvoa de Varzim Municipality

A more sustainable and healthier Póvoa de Varzim

A Good Environment is a goal of the XXI century society. The Municipality of Póvoa de Varzim bets on sustainable mobility, with priority for pedestrians and bicycles.

In this sense, the Municipality of Póvoa de Varzim has implemented a set of measures that, in total, exceed 10 million euros, with particular emphasis on the new cycle path network (+ 27 km), with the support of more than 50 bicycle parks, supported by a new public transport network, designed under the Póvoa de Varzim Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, and the renewal of the Transport Coordinating Centre as an aggregator pole of mobility solutions in the municipality.

Póvoa de Varzim presents a network of cycle paths that covers, practically, the entire city. They are Ciclovia da Marginal (4.2 km); Ciclovia do Parque da Cidade à Marginal (1.8 km); Ciclovia Avenida 25 de Abril (3.5 km); Ciclovia de Penouces à Marginal (2.7 km) and Ciclovia de Penalves à Estação de Metro (1.3 km). With this network, the Government intends to promote the use of bicycles as alternative, soft and sustainable transport, with a view to decarbonising the city.
On the other hand, the Cycle Path from Póvoa to Balasar (18.1 km), which results from the requalification and valorisation of the railway branch that connects Póvoa de Varzim to Vila Nova de Famalicão, currently deactivated, has enabled a cycling connection between the two municipalities, crossing the heart of the parishes. These measures are part of a sustainability strategy focused on creating opportunities to increase the use of soft modes in the municipality.
Another major investment by the Municipality is the network of footbridges along practically the entire coast, about 16 km of sea front, up to the northern limit of the municipality. This infrastructure, which also integrates the route of the Portuguese Way of St. James along the Coast, is used daily by thousands of people.

Also in urban regeneration, the vector of sustainable mobility was not forgotten. Thus, in the planning and execution of important urban space requalification works, namely in the city's historical centre, priority was given to the pedestrian, widening the pavements, creating zones of preferential pedestrian use and leisure areas, removing the "parasitic" traffic from the city centre. There is, therefore, the concern to return the city to the people, a living, green and dynamic city, based on the design of the "15 minute city", one in which a citizen does not need to spend more than 15 minutes on foot or by bicycle to reach the main city services.  Working for a city that serves people and not cars is an opportunity to have more peace, greener streets, to walk or cycle, to shop close to home, to access multiple municipal services, among others.

In order to encourage the use of less polluting and environmentally friendly means of transport, the Municipality of Póvoa de Varzim has decided to exempt, from the month of July 2019, all electric vehicles from the payment of surface charged parking. The measure is in force for 10 years, in all areas with parking meters in the city, and is valid for residents and non-residents in Póvoa de Varzim. In parallel, the Municipality of Póvoa de Varzim launched a tender so that companies operating in the area of charging electric vehicles may invest in the city and set up, in several areas, energy supply stations for this type of vehicles.

Assuming that the future is ensured today, the Executive implemented a project directed to all 1st cycle schools "É Bom Pedalar Aqui! This project, successfully implemented since 2020, brings the teaching of bicycle use to 4th grade students. Initially implemented as a pilot project in only 5 schools, the project is currently being implemented in all 1st cycle schools in the municipality. The implementation of this project has also made it possible to provide the schools with cycle lanes and bicycles, helmets, waistcoats and signs for use by students and to simulate the day-to-day situations of those who use bicycles as a means of transport. The educational plan takes place throughout the year and includes theoretical and practical actions where safety rules are addressed and the use of bicycles is promoted.

The Municipality of Póvoa de Varzim has, since 2019, marked the European Mobility Week with a wide range of initiatives, aimed at different audiences, and with which it intends, in a broader sense, to raise awareness among the population and promote behaviours compatible with sustainable development, which include the conscious choice of transport mode, namely in the impact that such choice has on air quality, climate change mitigation and noise reduction.

By providing opportunities for citizens to walk, cycle or use public transport, the Municipality challenges them to rediscover the municipality, its people and heritage, in a healthier and more pleasant environment.

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