São Paulo’s state prosecutor’s office filed a lawsuit on Tuesday that threatens to end Mayor Fernando Haddad’s (PT) plan to build 400 kilometers of bicycle paths in the city.The prosecution asks that “all activities, services and works related to the construction of the bicycle system in São Paulo” be suspended, within a period of 24 hours, until the completion of the “necessary technical studies”. The prosecution’s requests must still be approved by the 5th Public Treasury Court.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office bases its decision on the absence of studies and planning to support the construction of infrastructure for bicycle traffic, an argument also adopted by the most critical of the mayor, among whom there were those who came to associate the red stripes with political propaganda of the PT. It was precisely the complaints of citizens who motivated the process.”Along with the exacerbated development of the bicycle system in this municipality in recent months, this prosecutor has received and continues to receive a considerable number of complaints from citizens about irregularities and problems that has aggravated the city’s already chaotic urban mobility system,” argues the prosecutor.
According to the suit, the prosecution requested the City Hall and the Engineering and Traffic Company (CET) for the technical studies carried out and detailed information on the schedule of the works, on the measures adopted to guarantee safety standards and signaling, and on eventual Impacts, but they responded with press releases.”The material sent by the Government can not be considered a technical study for the implementation of the bicycle system,” concludes the document.
The Association of Urban Cyclists in São Paulo criticized the position of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and hopes that the Court of Justice will reject the prosecution’s requests.”We are very angry about the arguments put forward by the prosecutor. She not only questions the methods used to implement bicycle routes-which is legitimate, of course-but puts public policy itself in question, questioning the need to promote the use of bikes in São Paulo.This is very serious and we can not afford setbacks,”said Daniel Guth, urban mobility policy adviser and association director.
If the action is approved by the judge, the City Hall and the CET will, in addition to suspending current works, rebuild in less than a month the paved pavement to build unfinished bike paths to restore”site functionality”. This requirement includes the paralysis and recomposition of the nearly four-kilometer cycle path of Avenida Paulista , budgeted at 15 million reais. Haddad’s star project for cyclists is one of the main focuses of criticism of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which considers it a “bus and subway system” and where there would be no need for a bike path. In case of noncompliance, the prosecution will pay a fine of 100,000 reais per day for crime of disobedience and administrative impropriety (damage to the treasury and violation of administrative principles).
The prosecutor affirms that a series of “irregularities”that endanger the safety of citizens,”especially of the cyclists themselves,” are repeated on the bicycle lanes and cycle paths of the city. These included the construction of cycle lanes in “obstructed sites by poles, signs, bus stops or trees” or the lack of proper separation and protection of motorized cyclists’ lanes.
Among the conclusions, the promoter of the case Camila Mansour Magalhães maintains that”the political decision to develop the cycle system in this municipality, adopted by the current municipal administration, violates the constitutional principle of efficiency” and “does not serve the public interest.”
The municipal administration informs that it will provide all necessary clarifications regarding the planning and execution of the bike paths in the city.