Palma town hall spokesperson Alberto Jarabo insisted on Wednesday that there will be no backing-down on the pedestrianisation of streets in the city centre. There are precedents, he said, which support the administration "prioritising people before cars".
Jarabo explained that in the 1990s the left-wing administration of Ramón Aguiló pedestrianised Calle Olms and did so despite being "at war" with the opposition Partido Popular and with businesses. Now, however, "no one questions this". In 2010, when Aina Calvo was the PSOE mayor, Calle Blanquerna was pedestrianised. "There was an aggressive campaign against this by the PP and business, but no one now criticises it."
Regarding the planned pedestrianisation of Calle Nuredduna and the recent modification to traffic in Calle Unió and Plaça Mercat, Jarabo reckoned that those who are currently campaigning against these will later have no doubt as to the benefits. The councillor believed that problems facing smaller retailers in Palma are due to the growth in online sales and to competition from larger retailers and malls. These problems are "not on account of this administration's model of the city".
Jarabo added that the town hall is always open to dialogue with businesses, "whenever this is necessary", but made clear that pedestrianisation in the city centre will go ahead. He noted that earlier this month the town hall announced 100,000 euros of funding for small retailers in 2020. "We are changing an old model based on planning public space that gave preference to cars. People will now have the leading role."
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