By Humphrey Carter
PALMA city council is losing the battle to ease traffic congestion in and around the city, but the latest idea could prove to be the most economically and environmentally viable. The city planning office is studying proposals for the Paseo Maritimo to be sunk underground along with the railway lines into the Plaza d'Estaciones and traffic from the docks to be tunnelled straight onto the Via Cintura. However, they are costly projects and also highly complicated for engineers. It was the previous left-wing local government which seriously planted the idea of a tram running along the sea front. They wanted to lay a tram line from Arenal to Magalluf via the airport. But it appears that Palma city council is seriously considering the idea of installing a tram from La Lonja to Porto Pi, serving a similar route to the number one bus. The EMT's No. 1 bus carries nearly 1.5 million passengers per year and just one of the tram's carriages will be able to carry a similar number of passengers to three to four buses. The project designers envisage using a light metro similar to those already operating in a number of other Spanish cities.
The light trams are fast, efficient, punctual, can carry large numbers of passengers and are eco-friendly.
What is more, laying a tram line along the Paseo Maritimo will not be as complicated as sinking the sea front road underground and will mean much less inconvenience for local residents, hotels and businesses along the Paseo.

The idea is for the tram to run down the middle of the sea front, with traffic lanes either side, although steps will also be taken to reduce traffic along the sea front while creating more parking facilities and improving access to La Lonja and the city centre. The tram will also make it easier for shoppers wishing to get to the city centre and tourists moving around the sea front and between Palma's key attractions.

The trams will also be cheaper to run for the council.
The new light metros use ten times less energy than the busses and can move between 6.000 and 20.000 passengers per hour, compared to the 2.000 to 4.000 of an average city bus, at an average speed of between 12 and 20 kilometres per hour and are user friendly with easy access for the disabled.

The trams are much quieter and do not omit carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
The sea front route will not involve the construction of any tunnels and a state-of-the-art signal system will make sure that the trams are continually running.


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