Legislator José Pereira Coutinho says that the recent San Ma Lou pedestrianisation of the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro led to unforeseen problems and “severely affected” businesses and residents in adjacent streets.
The thoroughfare – known colloquially as San Ma Lou or “New Road” in Cantonese – was closed to vehicular traffic in order to stage Lunar New Year events on 22 and 24 January and again on 4 and 5 February.
The events drew an estimated 140,000 people and cost some 2.6 million patacas to mount.
However, in a written submission to the government – reported in Ponto Final – Coutinho said that barriers erected to enforce the pedestrianisation had the effect of discouraging crowds from exploring the area’s side streets.
Retailers in those streets “could not benefit” from the project, because the ability of visitors to spend money at their shops “was seriously affected”, he argued, accusing authorities of a “lack of foresight”.
The lawmaker added that because the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro is such an important artery, its closure to vehicles had also seriously inconvenienced local residents and businesses needing to transport goods.
He said that nearly two dozen side street retailers had complained that they were not consulted before the pedestrianisation took place.