That La Rambla languishing is no secret. The emblematic avenue in the heart of Barcelona has for years lost its charm for the locals, who little by little stopped treading it due to the lack of attractions and the feeling that ‘their’ road had become a point of and for tourists .
Indeed, its kiosks, bars and shops, practically entirely dedicated to the sale of ‘souvenirs’, lived in a large part of the visitors, who with the pandemic disappeared and ended up sinking the road. The reform, demanded by its neighbors for years and stalled on several occasions for political reasons, was more urgent than ever.
The realignment It was put on the table years ago and got a first approval in 2016, but its delay even led to the neighbors installing a meter to control the delay,
that a month ago exceeded 2,000 days. Now, the Barcelona City Council plans, finally and after years of obstacles and neighborhood demands, to start the transformation of La Rambla in 2022. The executive project was recently approved and the reform this time has the unanimous support of all groups.
The municipal government plans contemplate carrying out the work in sections and starting in its lower area, between the Colón monument and Santa Madrona, and give a new face to the mythical avenue, with wider sidewalks, new pavement and even less circulation than the current one. “It is very important that the entire La Rambla project is a comprehensive project that is linked to recovering it, to feeling it ours,” said the Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning, Janet Sanz.
Although all opposition groups expressed their joy at the start of the project, ERC and the PP regretted that an attempt was made to link the reactivation of the reform to a budget item in the 2022 accounts. The Amics de La Rambla association, which has led the battle to achieve a new reorganization of the road, regrets this very issue. “It seems that now the reform will come, but it will be seen”, Fermín Villar, president of the entity, tells ABC.
“Make it nice”
Friends of La Rambla Nor does it understand that the reform has to extend for seven years, when it already accumulates at least five years of delay. «The initial project was already titled ordination, not a reform. It is necessary to order its surface; florists, kiosks, terraces. We need bigger sidewalks and a more peaceful environment. In the end we have to make it pleasant for the walk and have an improvement in all its offer, “explains Villar.
In this sense, the rehabilitation of the Teatro Principal is good news for the residents, which was the first covered theater in Spain and which will now host an audiovisual and immersive art project. The Consistory has agreed with the property, with an investment of around 25 million euros, and will involve parallel improvements in cultural facilities in the area and the neighborhood.
Even less traffic
The agreed plan goes along these lines and foresees that the renovated Rambla will be “a more comfortable, green, friendly and cultural promenade, with more space for pedestrians and better accessibility and organization of uses.” Among other aspects, the technical project contemplates reducing the space for the car: traffic will be limited to one lane per direction that neighbors, bicycles and buses will have to share.
In addition, sidewalks (which will become a minimum of three meters wide) will be widened as well as the central section, which will grow slightly, and elements such as kiosks will be relocated. Among its novelties, a new pavement will also stand out: it will be made up of pieces of natural stone of a ‘brownish’ color, which will share both sidewalks and road. This will undoubtedly be one of the most visible changes.
«In the end, we have to ensure that the people of Barcelona have attractions to come to La Rambla, that the visitor is not just a tourist and that there is a decent offer for everyone. We want a Rambla aimed at everyone and that we can experience a San Jordi every day “, Villar sentence, recalling that every April 23 the locals invade the mythical avenue.