THE Palma city council will put general interest first when it comes to studying possible changes for its plans for Calle Jacinto Verdaguer, which are closely tied to the plans for the Stations Park.
The council continues to claim that it is necessary to open four lanes to traffic along Calle Jacinto Verdaguer, in order to guarantee access to the suburbs it crosses, while residents want it converted into a pedestrian area.
Rodrigo de Santos, the deputy Mayor in charge of planning, claimed yesterday that the four lane plan will help to ease the traffic that enters and exits the city using Calle Aragón.
The Mayor of Palma, Catalina Cirer yesterday met representatives from the neighbourhood groups in the areas near to the train lines to allay their fears.
Rodrigo de Santos said that the council is willing to improve the project, although any changes must be based on technical alternatives and he insisted that the council is opposed to reducing the four lanes to two lanes. This is a project to benefit the whole city, he said, adding that to reduce the number of lanes will not favour the rest of the residents. He is in favour of maintaining plans for the four lanes of traffic on Calle Jacinto Verdaguer as has already been included in the project, and he justifies his decision because he believes that the lanes are needed to make sure that the areas that are affected by the new park plans will still have road access to the city.
The transverse roads must also connect the different areas of Palma to guarantee that traffic will flow, which means that we need at least two lanes on this road, and also we would need a lane for public transport vehicles and another lane for drivers to access Palma, he added.
He dismissed fears that the construction of four lanes would convert Jacinto Verdaguer into a motorway giving access to the city, as spaces reserved for pedestrians represent 60 per cent of the surface which will remain free after the train tracks are put underground.
To stop drivers speeding on this road and to give priority to residents, the council will construct zebra crossings and traffic lights and a roundabout at the start of the road.
The responsibility of the council, he said yesterday, is to ensure that the building work and project has a minimal impact which, he claimed, was an improvement on the alternative which the last town council had designed, as it provides a greater area for green zones and pedestrian areas.