Barcelona’s unknown plan for the Gran Vía and Diagonal sides

  • The slopes lose cars, but the unknown remains of what the council wants to do with these lanes

  • Everyone sees the turn signal, but after a glance left and right, many choose to pull

  • If the idea is to expel the cars, it may not make sense to keep the bike lane and create a single platform

A sociologist would have a great time observing the sides of Gran Via and Diagonal. Since last week, you can no longer go straight at certain intersections and forces you to turn right. And although the vertical and horizontal signals leave no room for doubt, there are many who slip the rule. They stop driving, look left and right, one last glance to the horizon and through the rearview mirror, and throttle. And if the front has passed, even more reason. The offense is contagious, but in this case, it also seems that it is not understood.

The opposition and certain sectors of society strongly criticize the government of Ada Colau for his crusade against the car. It is also true that there are those who consider that the ‘commons’, in communion with the socialists, fall short in the pedestrian recovery of the city. Every two weeks they demonstrate this by cutting streets in favor of pacifying school environments. The city council usually brandishes a Roadmap that mixes the need to reduce the presence of private vehicles and the desire to shrink pollution levels, which in 2020 fell thanks to the pandemic but the pollution beret is almost the same as always. This is how the superblocks (Sant Antoni is the example to follow) or the project of green axes which aims to green 21 streets of the Eixample which in turn will create 21 new squares.

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The consistory already advanced at the beginning of the month that I’d give the drivers some time before taking out the notebook fines. What is ruled out is sanction with cameras, as it is done in the Rambla. The signs were painted a week ago and the Urban Guard start sanctioning shortly. When? This newspaper has asked about the intended device to control these sides, but there has been no response from the local police. Or rather, it has not wanted to specify beyond what was wielded on February 1, which was not too much. Thus, the strategy for now is that of let go, that in the same way that the water molds itself to the wounds of the earth when it advances downstream, that cars and motorcycles adapt to the new situation before placing check dams.

Half cheats

On the terrain, the thing touches the joke. After three hours of monitoring in ‘ground zero’ (500 vehicles were analyzed in five points, which is not much, but electoral polls are carried out with similar figures …), the conclusion is not debatable: everyone knows that they cannot pass (except bikes, taxis and authorized vehicles, which do have a permit) but at some points, the half chooses to move on. The picaresque of a lifetime, like passing the amber traffic light, get on the sidewalk on top of the bike on the go, cross the street where you don’t touch, go in bike with headphones or circulate through Aragó by car at 75 kilometers per hour. In Muntaner Diagonal is where the trap is most evident. Almost half of the cars and motorcycles they ignore the signal although it is more than evident that everyone has seen it. The carriers take the cake. Although it could be thought that their work could have been left out of the veto. The same as those with parking on the Diagonal or Gran Via, forced to walk around until enter through a perpendicular allowing them to reach your garage.

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In Rambla de Catalunya the traffic has already been ‘cleared’ a lot. Here come the clueless who have come down through Balmes and who used to take the side to go down Passeig de Gràcia. 40% go straight. And given the operation of the lane, it is likely that they will end up looking for other routes. The side, with the new quirk, has become slow and uncomfortable, because the right turns coincide with the pedestrian and priority green, which generates an absurd queue that advances very slowly despite what are four cats. Or four cars. If the goal was to reduce traffic, mission accomplished.

Desert in Gran Via

On the mountain side, in Via Augusta also four out of ten ignore the signal. Here, as the space is much more open by the width of both arteries, the doubt of the offender is much more common. They are more exposed and there are many who wrinkle their foreheads in search of a mermaid that will not appear all morning, neither on the Diagonal nor on Gran Via. In this second street, the traffic on the sea side (the mountain one is exclusive for bus and taxi since 2012) is practically residual. But if the idea was to apply what the mayor of Paris said (according to cross the city from end to end down a street, but that’s not why we have to make it easy), badly we go, because the central trunk is still an urban highway, from Cerdà to Glòries.

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And there arises the reasonable doubt:why the decision was made to eliminate the sides as passageways? Maybe that’s why bloc opposition was so critical Tuesday at the municipal mobility commission. All groups were against the mandatory spins. Because there is not one true pacification from the sides (ERC), because it seems they want justify the passage of the tram (Junts), because there is no reflection on the future of these arteries (Ciutadans), because it is forced to circulate more, to go around and pollute more (Barcelona pel Canvi) or because it is one more sample of the belligerence towards the private vehicle (PP).

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In any case, if the measure is now final, and in view of the fact that traffic on the sides is effectively reduced,it makes sense to keep the bike lane or is it better for the side to become a single platform with a speed limited to 10 km / h? Or what is the same, what is the city council’s plan for the slopes of Diagonal and Gran Via beyond throwing out the cars?

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