Barcelona overhauling city center to prioritize cyclists and pedestrians
Barcelona plans to overhaul around 20 streets in the city center to make them more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, and less friendly for drivers, who will need to steer clear of the thoroughfares. The 10-year plan also involves building new green spaces for city residents.
With its latest urban plan, the city of Barcelona aims to make one in three streets in the city center more “green,” giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists rather than cars.
To this end, the city has launched a major overhaul of around 20 streets in the central Eixample district. The plan includes transforming intersections and former parking spaces into small green spaces so that no citizen in the area is more than 200 meters from a square or a small park.
This new plan is expected to take around 10 years to implement. In the end, cars will no longer be welcome in the zone and, through traffic, will have to use alternative routes. Cycle lanes and play areas will also be installed to reduce noise and pollution in the neighborhood.
Alongside this particular project, Barcelona has for several years been implementing a vast program of “superblocks” in the city, aiming to cut noise and pollution. The so-called “superblocks” group together blocks on the city grid to form an area of around 400 by 400 meters, which are virtually car-free inside. The first “superblock” was created in 2016 in the Poblenou district.
Barcelona is not the only major European city looking to limit traffic downtown while working to promote cycling and pedestrian uses. In Leicester, United Kingdom, for example, there are plans to extend the pedestrian zone by redirecting certain city center bus routes, notably around the Haymarket Clock Tower in the historical center. In Bristol, certain streets that had been temporarily closed to traffic are set to become permanently car-free. CC
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