Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad has come with a highly ambitious plan – to reshape the traffic (among others) of South America’s largest metropolis area.
The plan comes with many difficulties – the biggest by far being the fact that all his constituents want the Mayor out of office now. That’s after he came with proposals for the introduction of new bike lanes, new driving rules to limit congestion and higher taxes. Haddad’s Master Plan, which has won approval of the city council two months ago, has street-parking tightly limited, while also introducing at least 300 kilometers (186 miles) of bus-exclusive lanes and 400 kilometers of bike roads.
“I can’t govern thinking about an eight-year mandate,” Haddad said. “A city like Sao Paulo can’t avoid experimenting. New York, Paris, London, Singapore are always testing out new ways of doing things.”
“His agenda is very disconnected from the city’s reality,” comments Andrea Matarazzo, a city councilman from the opposition. “There’s no point in talking about the Sao Paulo of 2022 when people want you to solve their problems now.”
So far, the new rules have increased bus speeds by around 45% and have been developed to encourage people to live closer to work or companies to focus their attention on real estates close to subway lines and bus corridors. The situation for the drivers remains dire though: during rush hour (5 pm to 8 pm), the car traffic’s average speed is very low – just 6.9 kilometers an hour, according to the city’s traffic unit.