The Association of Small and Medium Commerce of Mallorca, or Pimeco, has blasted Palma City Council for banning traffic from areas like Plaça del Mercat, without having a short-term improvement plan in place.
A total of 70 merchants have participated in a meeting organised by Pimeco and the Mobility Councillor, Francesc Dalmau and according to traders, there were "moments of great tension" when the issue was discussed.
“We agree that sustainability is about reducing road traffic in the city centre but not about cutting it off; it must be done with a clear plan of action,” said Pimeco President, Antoni Fuster. “All that has been achieved in Plaza del Mercat is that there is no-one, and that’s doing a lot of damage to businesses in the area, who don’t know if they can afford to stay open until the beautification work is done and the area is revitalised,” he said.
Merchants also showed Councillor Dalmau a recording of queues of cars at the entrance to a large shopping centre in Palma, and asked the question, ”Do these cars not pollute?”
"It seems good to us that streets are closed to traffic but the works have yet to be finished to adapt the closed areas and make them attractive for pedestrians," said a merchant in the Carrer de Costa i Llobera, adding, “some streets have been closed to traffic for years but no improvement work has been done".
“The closure of the traffic access from Plaza de España to Mercat de l’Olivar must be done with the consensus of local merchants, insists the Federation of Municipal Markets. “If the markets are forced to survive only on what residents from the area buy, we will close. The market can’t thrive without the people who come from outside the area to buy produce,” they said.
Councillor Dalmau said that the closure of these streets responds to the programmatic commitments of governance agreements to make the city more sustainable and more open to pedestrians. In the case of the closure of the Plaza del Mercat, he said he could not specify when the improvement and beautification works would be carried out.