Barcelona becomes the first city in Spain to create “safe walking routes” as parks open and pedestrians flood the streets

Barcelona creates ‘safe walking routes’ as parks open and the city council widens the pavements.

LITTLE by little, lockdown is being opened up in the Spanish city of Barcelona, eagerness to get outside combines with nervousness about the risks ahead.

And precisely because of that urge to enjoy open spaces in safety, walking, exercising, and playing with children, while maintaining the necessary distancing, the city of Barcelona has announced a plan to adapt its public space to ensure that the public can get about comfortably.

From today, May 1, half of the city’s parks will be opened, about 70 in total, the pavements of some key streets which are particularly narrow will be widened, and other roads will be cut off to traffic altogether. However, the beaches and children’s play areas in the city will remain closed.

Every day, from 9am to 9pm, vehicles will be banned from driving on 44 streets in the city. The aim is to make available ‘safe routes’ for Barcelona residents, that is, pedestrian ways which are at least four metres wide in order to maintain a safe distance between people.

The very popular Las Ramblas in Barcelona is normally packed with tourists and residents alike, will it ever be the same again?

In choosing the streets, the city council has prioritised neighbourhoods with the least amount of safe spaces for walking, that is, those that do not have direct access to large open spaces and have a high population density.

Barcelona is certainly setting an example of just how cities in Spain can organise its residents in a safe and controlled manner, let’s see if other regions follow suit.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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