THE Federation of Residents' Associations, the Train Users' Association and the ecological watchdog in the Balearics (GOB) presented a total of 311 objections yesterday, to Palma City Council's plans to set up an underground rail and bus terminus in the centre of the city.
The official objections to the plans, already made public by the Council, were presented on behalf of the lobby at the offices of the Majorcan Railway Service, by Guillem Ramis, member of the Train Users' Association.
He reported that amongst the key complaints, the Anti-Underground lobby had insisted on the Council consulting with Users' Associations before any public transport project of great magnitude, such as this one for diverting the railway underground, got underway. Current and future needs of the train service should have been discussed at the outset, claimed the protesters, as well as any possible solutions to immediate difficulties.
Also on the agenda within the same development, the Council has planned a commercial centre in the new below-ground-level station area, as well as an access for private cars.
Ramis commented that the planned project to divert the railway underground will mean two years of construction work in the Parc de Ses Estacions area. Complaints were therefore generated by the fact that railway activity in the centre of Palma would come to a standstill for this length of time.
Ramis pointed out that to divert the railway line underground will mean a tremendously high cost and added that the project replaces a railway line access with access for private cars in calle Jacinto Verdaguer. Hence, the Residents' Associations asked that private motorised transport in this street be banned and that a green zone and cycle path be created.
GOB spokesman, Miquel Àngel March declared his opposition to the project, because he prophesied that the city-centre project will mean traffic build up quickly arriving at saturation point. He proposed that the station be located instead near the present Palma ringroad, in the Poligono de Levante, so that necessary parking facilities for train users could be built.
March estimated that if this proposal were accepted, it would avoid two years of work, and the paralysis of the railway service. Finally, he said that in the time that it would take to complete the Parc de Ses Estacions terminus and divert the railway underground, the proposed alternative service could be up and running.