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Carla Madeira - ask the boss

Ask the boss - Carla Madeira

Carla Madeira, head of Misericórdia Parish council, answers questions from our readers.

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Editores da Time Out Lisboa

The noise in the neighbourhood is unbearable. How can we reduce noise pollution?

The lack of balance between residential and commercial functions is one of the main problems in Misericórdia. This parish is home to a large part of Lisbon's nightlife and is therefore greatly affected by noise and unsanitary conditions, with serious consequences for the resident population. I have always advocated for peaceful coexistence between residents, traders and visitors, but for that to happen measures must be taken to reduce noise, namely enforcing the regulations introduced in 2016 that require establishments to operate with closed doors after 11 pm, to have sound insulation and sound limiters. This regulation also allows the City Council to implement tougher measures, such as temporary or permanent time restrictions, with establishments closing at 11 pm for 180 days (measures already implemented in the past in Bica and Cais do Sodré), and not just four-hour restrictions on Thursdays, on bar openings, as is currently the case. It is also important for the City Council to implement the ban on the sale of alcohol on the street from 1 am, as provided for in the regulations. This is something I have been calling on Mayor Carlos Moedas to introduce since last April, but it has not happened yet and I am not sure why. This is another measure that we implemented in the parish in the past and, at that time, led to a significant reduction in the impact of noise.

What will happen to the outdoor seating areas that appeared during the pandemic?

All of the temporary outdoor seating areas that opened in Misericórdia during the pandemic have been closed since 1 April 2022.

What initiatives can local businesses expect for the high season? 

The main event that will take place during the high season will undoubtedly be the World Youth Day. Thousands of young people will be moving around the city and the Misericórdia parish area will be central, not only because it is a parish with many tourist and historical landmarks, but also because it is where one of the city's largest transport hubs is located, Cais do Sodré, where young people arriving by boat from the south bank of the Tagus and young people coming from the Cascais line will arrive.

The area between the Elevador da Glória and the São Roque Church on Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara can be dangerous for pedestrians - and is impossible for those pushing a buggy or for people in wheelchairs. Are there any plans for this area?

There is indeed a serious problem with pedestrian mobility on Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara. During the previous term a solution was presented as part of the Baixa-Chiado Reduced Emissions Zone project (ZER), which would substantially improve mobility and increase pedestrian safety in the area, especially for those with limited mobility or for families with buggies. I have already asked the Mayor about the expected implementation date, but have not yet received any response.

When will the traffic problem in Príncipe Real, especially on Rua da Escola Politécnica and D. Pedro V, be solved?

The parish council is not responsible for regulating traffic - that is the responsibility of the City Council. However, it is also something that concerns us and is something we have raised with the City Council.

When will Rua Quintinha reopen?

There is still no date scheduled for the road to reopen. The City Council has informed us there is still no guarantee of safety and sustainability on the street that would allow it to be reopened. Because of its importance to the parish, we are monitoring the situation closely and are hoping the City Council will announce a solution soon.

Misericórdia, and specifically Santa Catarina, is perhaps one of the parts of Lisbon with the most litter on the streets, where there is a lack of cleaning and where the surfaces of the pavements and streets are in terrible condition. I would like to know why there is such negligence in one of the most expensive parishes for property in the city!

Misericórdia is possibly the parish that produces the most waste each day, both because of the impact of tourism and, especially, because most of the city's nightlife establishments are concentrated here. Being one of the city’s major tourist areas, I can also add that the amount of the tourist tax transferred from the City Council to the parish is manifestly insufficient given the amount of waste tourism produces and the need to be constantly cleaning the area.

Another issue that we have reported to the City Council concerns the numerous failures to collect waste by the City’s Urban Hygiene services, and in particular in the areas where access is restricted, including Santa Catarina and Bairro Alto.

 It is important to be aware that failures in waste collection affect pavement and street cleaning. If in Bairro Alto there is the problem of excess waste from commercial establishments, in Santa Catarina there is an excess of tourist accommodation (it is the area of the parish with the most short-term rental properties) and tourists and businesses do not always comply with the rules for separating waste.

As for the pavements, the parish council has been progressively introducing non-slip surfaces to improve pedestrian accessibility. We have not yet been able to make this change everywhere, especially in the restricted areas, but we have submitted our proposals to the City Council and are waiting for its authorisation to allow us to proceed. The poor condition of the main routes is also a problem that we have already reported to the City Council as this comes under their remit.

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