Staff Reporter CATALINA Cirer, the Mayor of Palma, opened the underground carpark in Plaza Santa Pagesa yesterday. It has 725 parking spaces and has cost 12.8 million euros. Spread out over four floors, the carpark, which has taken two years to complete, includes 369 lots for exclusive use by local residents and 356 open to all members of the public. It has a surface area of 18'982 square metres, measuring 13 metres high and 272 metres in length. Furthermore, restructuring above ground has increased the pedestrian walkway area from 1'958 to 7'120 square metres. According to Alvaro Gijón, deputy Mayor in charge of traffic and transport who accompanied Cirer at the inauguration, this underground carpark has been built to “alleviate” the parking problems of the Buenos Aires area, and is in this respect, a response to popular resident demand. The traffic chief said that there had been controversy surrounding the issue of whether the above-ground area should be for exclusive pedestrian use. A compromise decision had been reached whereby vehicles cannot drive at a speed in excess of 30 kilometres per hour in the Plaza Santa Pagesa. The underground carpark installations have incorporated an automatic system that detects free spaces “which will improve accessibility” asserted Gijón. They also have built-in “all the latest security measures” which restricts pedestrian access to a single entrance as of 11pm and ensures a 24-hour guard. There are also spaces especially adapted to people with physical disabilities and others which accommodate parents with children's pushchairs, making the exit route much easier. Gijón confirmed that the City Council had “focussed on providing a well-lit environment” and background music to give “a relaxed atmosphere” in the building. It is hoped that such measures would provide aspects of quality to the carparking service. During the next fortnight, he furthered, parking would be free for all residents in the area, from 8pm to 10am. Up until 7 January, traders will be able to give free parking tickets to their clients to encourage spending in local businesses. Cirer gave due thanks to the work of the previous council, without which, she said, the completed parking project would not have been possible. Gijón drew attention to another underground scheme which is scheduled to begin next September in Marqués de la Cenia.