“Braga 2025, a vision for the future – Executive Summary”
“Urban Mobility is, today, one of the major challenges that cities face. Braga ́s new leaders are very aware of this and the engagement with the population on this topic started way before the 2013 municipal elections which gave Ricardo Rio the responsibility to manage city’s destiny for the next term.
Braga claims to be Portugal’s third city in terms of population and during the last decades has witnessed strong investments in road infrastructure, such as viaducts, underpasses and parking lots. This created significant “scars” on the urban fabric; city boulevards that should be the stage for urban life, where transformed in high speed traffic corridors, leading to excessive speed and causing severe accidents, often with pedestrians and cyclists as victims. Alternatives to those who chose not to drive are scarce; those automobile oriented investments created barriers for pedestrians and cyclists, forcing them to cross streets using uncomfortable elevated crossings.
The newly elected Mayor believes a dramatic change in this paradigm is necessary. Together with TUB (Transportes Urbanos de Braga – the local public transport operator that runs over 120 buses) the focus is now in planning for the long term, in order to provide the next generations with a more inclusive, livable and sustainable city.
This document summarizes the intense brainstorming effort about mobility and urban development that started during the campaign for the local elections and continued during the first year of Rio’s mandate. Issued to the population through the local media, this report gathers findings about current mobility situation, points out new priorities, proposes actions and, with an extensive interview to the Mayor Ricardo Rio, a new long term vision for Braga is published: Rio sees Braga in 2025 “as a city without barriers, accessible to all. Braga will have a better image with a renovated city center, economically healthy, and celebrating its outstanding architectural and cultural heritage, source of pride to residents and enjoyable for visitors. Braga’s population will have better quality of life and will be more sensitive to environmental protection, supported by an integrated and sustainable mobility. There will be a strong relationship between University population and the city center and Braga will be an example of support to creativity, entrepreneurship and initiative, able to retain young population and attract new residents.”
This document details some of the proposed measures related with urban strategy and mobility improvements. Also explains how to proceed to implementation, namely through regional, national or European funding. A strong emphasis is given to the shift towards a more walkable and bikeable city; Braga has quite a flat city center which is very convenient for those who decide to ride bikes. All major destinations within the urban core must be connected by bike lanes and TUB will also be concerned in creating seamless interfaces between local public transport, national railways and even providing bike sharing facilities. “Placemaking” is present in the minds of TUB and city leaders and their aim is to plan a city where children can grow and play freely and safely, and their parents and grandparents can age with all the comfort.
This document is a step towards the development of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan that will follow European Commission guidelines; TUB and city leaders strongly believe this will be a valuable contribution to a happier Braga!”