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Madalena Natividade- ask the boss

Ask the boss - Madalena Natividade

Madalena Natividade, head of the Arroios Parish council, answers questions from our readers.

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Editores da Time Out Lisboa

When are you opening the new Caracol da Penha Garden? Do you have other ideas to make Arroios greener?

We are anxiously waiting for the opening. According to the latest information we have from Lisbon City Council, the opening is scheduled for the spring. But Green Arroios has more ideas and above all more plans for 2023. After the installation of totally innovative urban furniture, the "mushrooms" and the garden benches that allow the collection of rainwater for later reuse, the installation of solar panels in our mupis, the rehabilitation of the António Feijó Garden and the Vertical Gardens, among other projects, we also have planned for 2023 the replanting of Monte Agudo, with about 90 trees, which will be Arroios’ largest tree planting initiative of recent decades. In addition, another concept that may seem unexpected is that 52 travelling trees will beautify and provide shade on the same number of corners, among other surprises that we are preparing. But Green Arroios is an environmental programme for the whole term of office.

When are you going to replant the flower beds in the Almirante Reis area? They have no plants, are dried up, and are accumulating litter.

We have an ongoing project to rehabilitate Almirante Reis as a whole. In fact, we advocate an avenue where the pedestrian can coexist with public transport, soft mobility, commerce and green areas. However, while we are waiting for a new Almirante Reis, we will start work in the spring to improve the flower beds. All our action under the Green Arroios programme is aimed at involving the community, especially schools, in order to raise awareness of the need to take sustainable measures. I can give the Eco-Schools programme as one of the examples, in which young people set out to create a smart irrigation system. It is necessary to take a fresh look at these issues of sustainable development.

Why hasn't Rua de Arroios been made into a street with parking exclusively for residents, since we know that there are two car repair garages occupying 80% of the parking spaces on the street, without paying a cent?

Excellent question. It is a project that we already have in motion, but things do not always move as fast as we want them to. However, our idea for Rua de Arroios goes far beyond that; we want to have more organised car parking with more spaces, but also with more trees. This project has already been submitted to Lisbon City Council, because of its size - and we want the necessary powers to implement it to be delegated to us.

What is being done to improve pedestrian and cycling mobility?

The Lisbon cycling network is the responsibility of Lisbon City Council, so it is a task we are carrying out jointly with the Council, with regard to our parish. As for pedestrian mobility, we know that we have a task ahead of us in the improvement of our pavements, zebra crossings and streets, with a clear concern for people with reduced mobility. These are areas where we operate to the limits of our powers.

What will the red house in Campo Mártires da Pátria do? When will it be ready?

The “Red House” is the Logistics Centre. We have a very interesting project which involves the creation of an Arroios Youth Academy, a youth area for children between the ages of 6 and 17 that will allow them to have access to cultural, sporting and recreational activities. We hope to inaugurate it in the first half of 2023.

Why don't you rehabilitate the Jardim Constantino park? It is beautiful and has never been properly renovated, especially the children's playground. It's in a terrible state. Just like Praça das Novas Nações square, which is permanently full of litter and is in front of a school.

Of course, we share this concern. Both Jardim Constantino and Praça das Novas Nações square have rehabilitation projects that have already been submitted, and they need the delegation of powers by Lisbon City Council, due to their size and cost. As for litter, we will start an awareness campaign in several languages and with additional cleaning measures at the end of this month, including the setting up of rapid intervention teams. This is in a parish that has about 33,000 registered inhabitants and about 20,000 more who live here, but are not registered. This is undoubtedly my greatest challenge. Arroios must be increasingly cleaner and more environmentally friendly.

Why are the streets of Arroios dirtier than parishes such as Alvalade, or areas such as Telheiras?

Arroios is in the centre of the city, with its own characteristics of narrow streets and old buildings. We have serious social problems, which we are addressing, but which cannot be solved overnight. I was elected about a year and a half ago. Unlike Alvalade or Telheiras, which are recent parishes in the context of the city and have wide pavements, wide streets and a lower concentration of inhabitants, Arroios clearly has different characteristics, even in historical terms. The incomparable cannot be compared. But I am also very proud to say that it is the most multicultural parish in Europe, where diverse cultures and customs cross paths, making Lisbon a cosmopolitan city.

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