Cars take preference in Spanish cities

Cars take preference in Spanish cities

SPANISH STREETS: Too many pavements are too narrow Photo credit: Linda Hall

A STUDY of 950 streets in 85 Spanish cities found that pavements tended were narrow and didn’t get a pass-mark for accessibility.

The Callegrafia survey, carried out for the Red de Ciudades que Caminan (Cities that Walk Network) and published on October 23, concluded that on average 68 per cent of public spaces were occupied by vehicles.

Thirty-two per cent of these spaces, which did not include parks and gardens, were available to pedestrians who had to share them with trees, benches, streetlights, bollards and rubbish containers, not forgetting badly-parked vehicles. This percentage dropped to 25 per cent in areas on the outskirts of the cities reviewed.

“We found that, in general, our public spaces are second-rate and have narrow pavements that do not encourage the public to walk,” said Oier Martinez Violet, one of Callegrafia’s authors.

He and his colleagues also found there was very little variation in the large, medium and small Spanish cities that they examined.

City pavements should be a minimum of 1.8 metres wide to be considered accessible, according to the Ministry of Transport.

Instead, the Callegrafia experts calculated that the majority did not comply with the Ministry’s recommendations and 14 per cent were less than a metre wide. Some measured only 30 centimetres, making them problematic for members of public who had mobility problems or were otherwise vulnerable.

Pavements needed to be at least 2.4 metres wide if they were to be safe for all members of public, while accommodating the street furniture found in all the cities that were studied, the report said.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at