My name is Tiago Neves, passionate cyclist since my early years and architect for some years now. Living in Barreiro since I was born, and traveled a lot with well opened eyes and heart, soon discovered that the bicycle is the key for a better city and a happier community. Using the bicycle daily will make you healthy and happy, will give you more time and money so you can do what you love, and will give the opportunity to transform you city into a better place, much more safe and sustainable for all.
How would you describe your mission?
My mission, as the Bicycle Mayor of Barreiro, is to share my passion for the bicycle with others, showing that after all, we don’t need the car as much as we think. Change the city, initially trying to take more bicycles on the road, and at another stage, as an architect, help to promote the transformation of Barreiro into a safer city for cyclists, seeking to contribute actively during the planning phase of these urban rehabilitation operations.
What are the obstacles and challenges you’re facing in your city?
Barreiro is a small, practically flat city, with a mild climate and enormous potential for easy cycling. However, few still realize that they can change their time spent in traffic jams and looking for a parking place, for much more fun trips on their bicycle, greeting those who pass by and experiencing the city with greater intensity.
Barreiro is a city with an industrial past that has left a heavy legacy. A large territory occupied by empty buildings, from old factories, which is now changing and giving rise to a new city. Vast extensions of unused railway lines, which still cut the city in half, but which could become a huge urban garden, connecting the various points of the city, where bicycles and people freely circulate.
The “Barreirenses” have always known how to join and fight for important causes. The countless associations and collectivities that still existed were true dynamizers of social life in Barreiro, and are a living example of the will and dedication of those who always felt that Barreiro was part of themselves.
This is undoubtedly a cause that everyone will wish to embrace as their own, helping the future generation of “Barreirenses” to live in a greener, safer and more qualified city.
What are your next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?
Physically changing the city is a desire that requires a lot of investment and time and I think that is not the fastest way. Changing people is the fastest way to change the city. Each extra cyclist represents one less car on the road. Fewer cars represent more safe roads and more cyclists represent more people influencing others, and more and more cyclists. And then yes, it will make sense to adjust the city, when the whole city feels this desire and necessity to change.
I will try to positively influence as many people as possible to change their mobility habits. To captivate schools, to captivate teachers, to captivate students, who in turn will captivate their parents. Captivate private companies and managers of public entities, to captivate their employees and collaborators to use their bicycles in their commuting. Create a true community of people concerned with the sustainability of your city.
What can other cities learn from your city?
I hope that Barreiro, as the 3rd Portuguese city to have a Bicycle Mayor, can give greater visibility to this process of transformation that, slowly, has been taking place in all cities in the world. I hope that all the changes and transformations we reach in Barreiro can become news in the nearest communities, spreading to the nearest cities and accelerating the transformation process of the entire region.