Exploring Spain

Will Barcelona Go Car Free?

Barcelona Aerial

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Will Barcelona Go Car Free?

Barcelona is considered by many the second capitol city of Spain, and it’s a city bustling with people. Spain went into a full lockdown last year in the midsts of the COVID 19 pandemic. However upon lifting some restrictions and allowing travel outside again the inhabitants of Barcelona were surprised.

This is because the usual three lane roads had yellow painting over two of the three lanes. This was done in order to create a wider pavement for pedestrians. The city described the changes as temporary and provisional. Despite this it’s been over a year and the paint is still in place, as the are the reduced lanes. The city of Barcelona has had some backlash from businesses over this matter.

Barcelona Streets

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Why The Rush To Reduce Cars?

Alongside Barcelona, Paris is another city adding bikes lanes & pedestrian areas across its land. Barcelona has recovered approximately 8 hectares of land that was previously designated to traffic only. The two main reasons for these drastic overhauls are climate change & Covid.

Climate change is a concern that is being taken very seriously by a lot of countries around the globe. Reducing emissions and their carbon footprint has been a goal of many cities, especially the larger ones. The official reasoning is that pedestrians in these cities will need far more room to comply with social distancing, and the city states that health is their number one priority.

Just because the initial redevelopment was intended to aid with Covid relief, does not mean the city can’t use the pandemic to restructure itself into a greener living area, just as they have been doing.

Street Paint

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Spain’s top cities have been under a close eye since 2019 for breaking several limits when it comes to nitrogen dioxide, so it’s a strong motivator to continue reducing cars. Else Spain may have to stand trial in an EU court. The minister claims that the city has adapted well to the reduced traffic lanes, and that the increase in pedestrian areas should help boost commerce.

Manufacturing A Greener Spain

It’s not just Barcelona, but all of Spain. With their huge government funding to push electric vehicle manufacturing. With less emissions as a direct result of this move, it’s no secret that Spain is trying very hard to lead Europe into an age of EV’s and carless cities.

To push this initiative they’ve done some creative things. Firstly they are doing the EV grant. But more than just replacing cars, they’re also making major cities car free. Still not convinced? Well they are also introducing a sticker system. This system allows and disallows certain types of vehicles in different areas. Barcelona is exempt for cars from the most part. But when inspecting other highly populated areas we notice that they too are becoming less car friendly.

The system works by each car attaining a rating based on its engine and emission rating. Once you get your rating sticker you must display it on your windshield. Certain high populated areas will require a minimum ratings. Cars that do not meet the minimum criteria will be denied entry to certain areas or be faced with fines to deter potential high emission cars in populated areas.

Not only does this fight pollution but it reduces the amount of households who will have cars or high emission cars. If 50,000 people live in a town and they need a “A” rated car to drive there, then it’s safe to assume that most people living there will own a car that’s legal to drive in their own town.


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