The Confisco Zone 30 Project in Belo Horizonte
In April 2019, Belo Horizonte implemented the first temporary Zone 30 around schools in the Cachoeirinha neighbourhood located in the northeast region of the city. Belo Horizonte has a strong history of community participation. Thus, the proposal for the Cachoeirinha neighbourhood was built together with the residents, the shop owners and, especially with the students from the neighbourhood schools, who played a key role in the design and maturation of the project and, later, in its implementation.
This intervention triggered a very positive reaction among the residents of the neighbourhood and had a great impact on the local media. Due to the support of the residents, the Zone 30 will become permanent by the end of the year. Moreover, it contributed significantly to reduce people’s resistance against the execution of projects of this nature at the city level. Hence, the well-known street art collective of Belo Horizonte, Cura Art, requested BHTRANS’ support for the implementation of a Zone 30 in the Lagoinha neighbourhood where they hosted their Street Art Festival between September 5thand 15th.
With the aim of capitalising the acceptance to Zones 30 that was generated by the Cachoeirinha project and replicate similar intervention in other areas of the city, Belo Horizonte set the goal of creating a Zone 30 in each of the nine administrative regions of the city with a focus on safe school environments.
Furthermore, in the context of the UP Initiative “environMENTALISE – co-creating safe, friendly and green neigbourhoods, Urban Pathways supported Belo Horizonte, one of its four pilot cities, in the implementation of a temporary Zone 30 in the Confisco neighborhood during September and October, months in which regional and global awareness campaigns such as the Mobility Week, the International Car Free Day, the World Habitat Dayand the Walk and Cycle to School Day are happening.For this purpose an Agreement of Cooperation under Urban Pathways between UN-Habitat and WRI Brasil was signed, so that the latter supports BHTRANS in the implementation activities.
Description of the intervention area
The Anne Frank Municipal School is located in the Confisco neighbourhood, a highly socially vulnerable community in the Pampulha administrative region.
School area: Approximately 4.500 m²
K Street: approx.160 meters
Marcelo Guimarães Street: approx.. 50 meters
J Street: approx.. 140 meters
Maria da Matta Castro Street: approx. 55 meters (Health Center)
Details of the proposed intervention
The bidirectional streets, the high-speed traffic and the lack of vertical signage in the area compromise the safety of the pedestrian and cyclist circulating in the area. Accordingly, the intervention in the surroundings of the school has the objective of encouraging the safe coexistence of different travel modes by clearly prioritising active modes, reducing vehicle speeds and increasing the safety of pedestrians and cyclists with a focus on the students of the Anne Frank Municipal School (AFMS). According to a survey conducted by the school, students arriving by foot to the school represent almost 90% of the 1,000 students that assist to AFMS. It is worth noting that the AFMS has three different shifts, morning, afternoon and evening, serving not only children and adolescents, but also adults. Hence, unlike other schools, there are students arriving to and leaving from the school all day long.
In this context, the design proposes the extension of the sidewalks along approx. 140 m on K Street and 50 meters on Marcelo Guimarães Street, using expressive colours to demarcate street design elements such as bulb-outs, that will force cars drivers to reduce the speed and thus will make the streets more calm and cheerful. The sinuous treatment on K Street will start at the school entrance in order to calm the traffic flow for students to have a safe and comfortable access to the school. Moreover, the 4 intersections in the surroundings will be treated by corner alignments, reducing the crossing distance and time for pedestrians.
Due to the main access of students being on K Street, a longer longitudinal extension of the sidewalk will be implemented to contribute even more to the safety and comfort of students. In front of the students' access, a pedestrian crossing will be painted to facilitate and provide greater safety for the students' walking and crossing. In this segment of K Street, vertical signage with the inscription "Slow down! School" will be included, as well as parking regulations for school vans that need to stop closeby.
For Marcelo Guimarães Street, in order to create a safe connection between the Confisco Square and the school, the sidewalk will be widened taking advantage of the larger width of the road in this segment, allowing the street to remain bidirectional. Moreover, car parking will be forbidden, giving space to larger pedestrian areas and allowing a better connection between the school and the square.
The Temporary Zone 30 Intervention around the Anne Frank Municipal School is scheduled to be implemented from September 16th, date of the commemorations of the Mobility Week, with activities over the following weeks with special attention to September 22nd (International Car-Free Day) and October 4th (Day of Walking and Cycling to School).