Palma City Council wants to reduce the speed limit in the entire city to 30 kilometres per hour and establish so-called super-islands, which will either be traffic-free or will only allow a very limited amount of vehicles.
The plans were revealed yesterday, which was International Climate Change Day, and are aimed at making cities greener and more sustainable.
Neus Truyol, Governor of Urbanisation and Council said, “scientific studies show that the Mediterranean heats up 20% faster than the average place on the planet, therefore we are in a very sensitive space and we have to be even more responsible and brave when applying measures to fight against climate change.”
She also said that a regulatory framework and new rules were needed to cope with the global climate emergency situation and proposed changes in three areas; the energy transition, the use of nature as an ally and the decarbonisation of the economy.
“The biggest pollutant in the city is mobility,” she said, “especially private cars, therefore, measures will be taken to reduce this dependence on the car and carry out a neighbourhood urbanisation, so that people have leisure spaces and schools closer to their place of work and reduce traffic by promoting public transport, such as trams and introducing traffic free super-islands.”
The super-islands, she explained, “are combination places where vehicles are not allowed or are very limited, for example, places that only pedestrians and bicycles can enter, or places that only allow public transport and local residents’ vehicles.
Examples of super-islands, "will be what we will see in the future in Son Busquets or in the surroundings of the old prison, but it's important that these traffic-free spaces are located in different neighbourhoods of the city,” she said, adding that “it is a concept that has already been promoted in other cities”
In Palma, one place that’s been earmarked as a super-island is Pere Garau, which has the highest population density in the city. Other neighbourhoods of Palma where air or noise pollution is a problem are also being considered as well as areas near educational centres and health centres, but nothing has been decided yet.
Neus Truyol has admitted that “dependence on private vehicles is due to the urban structure, which forces people to use their car sto go to school or work, or to go shopping, so if a change of urban model is imposed where neighbourhoods have many of these needs covered, people will have less need to take the car,” she said, pointing out that “in Palma there is an average of more than 900 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the state average of 650.
Some of the urban projects focus on the "renaturalisation of the city", such as the urban park of the canodrome and its second phase at the velodrome and other opportunities are also being investigated such as the recovery of es Carnatge, which is an area of significant historical and geological importance and a protection plan will be included in the General Plan.
Finally, Truyol spoke about proposals for decarbonisation of the economy, by "fostering economies that are more respectful of the environment and of life by crating an Agricultural Park the peri-urban and rural area of the city and we want to ensure that it cannot be urbanised in the future,” she said. “80% of the food we eat in the Balearic Islands comes from elsewhere, our intention is to promote zero kilometre products and to be able to supply a greater percentage of food from here."