Lisbon is literally built around seven hills. In fact, that’s its nickname: A Cidade das Sete Colinas (The City of the Seven Hills). The historical center is surrounded by hills, some of them pretty steep. But the planalto, starting from Marquês de Pombal, is rather flat.
In 2014, we started studying the inclination of the streets in Lisbon. The goal of this research was to map the streets in Portugal’s capital that would be topographically feasible for cyclists of any kind. The first results were impressive: out of the 1093km of streets, 691km proved to have a slope less than 4%.
Network of horizontal bikeways
Out of the raw data derived from this study, we selected the possible routes and looked for a simple logic to create a strong “bicycle mind map”. And even though they don’t cover the entire territory of the city, the network of existing metro lines, strongly engraved in the memory of every Lisboeta, appeared to coincide with the main horizontal cycling axes.
What follows is Lisboa Horizontal, a project proposal demystifying the idea as if Lisbon would be a city with only steep hills, impossible to cycle. Lisboa Horizontal is a specific plan for a horizontal network of central cycling bikelanes and connecting bikeways, each painted according to the color of the coinciding metro line, and connecting every single metro station.
Lisboa Horizontal quickly drew international attention, both with cycling advocates and urbanists/architects. The project was published on ArchDaily Brasil, Archdaily México, Plataforma Urbana (Chili), Bicizen.it, Correio Braziliense, Cycle Action Auckland, Plataforma Arquitectura, Pedais.pt, …