In summer, Funchal is subject to sportive events in its streets, marathons for runners, bike competitions and such. On the weekends, the Av. do Mar and Av. Arriaga are blocked off for traffic and ceded to the sportive minds, good for them.
The downside is that the public bus services are affected, and only a day or two earlier, on a few bus stops, a message warns (in Portuguese) of these upcoming occurrences. So, coming from the Lido area (bringing unsuspecting tourists to town as well), the bus drivers have to dispose of their passengers at the“Henrique” roundabout. On the Eastern side, the last stop is at Anadia Shopping, off you go. So many passengers have to traverse the city on foot.
A few months ago, such a sporting event blocked the city on a Friday afternoon, and I understand that this practice was stopped, due to the reaction of parents who, as usual, tried to pick up the little ones at school or kindergarten. Who wants to have 10 crying toddlers and first grade students left at the school door, thinking that Mum has abandoned them? So, parents got really angry and voiced their disdain for the unnecessary stress to the city. This argument is not available to people who want to go downtown on the weekends.
It is not in the Portuguese psyche to complain to authorities.Passengers may grumble at the emergency bus stop atop of the Henrique roundabout, but no Madeiran grabs the phone to call the “Horarios” company (which does not answer the phone on a holiday, anyway). And what can Horarios do? The decision to cut traffic for some runners lies with the City Hall. (Let’s not forget the car Rallies which also impact Funchal this way on a regular basis.)
What is to be done? It is nice to run by the sea, but is it really necessary to be in the middle of town? How about a race along the western part of Estrada Monumental, from Ponta da Laranjeira to the west (where the number 1 Bus stops), then with a turn at the old bridge down toward Praia Formosa (all nicely done up now) and toward the finish line in front of the Doca do Cavacas Tunnel?* It would be a nice, easy stretch, some of it well shaded with old trees. This part of Estrada Monumental would not be missed by drivers on the weekend; most of the traffic on the weekend is on the Via Rapida, anyway. *This route would only impact the No 1 bus and the Aerobus
Sporting activities should not be allowed in the downtown area at any time, so that citizens do not shy away from going there.
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