It’s more than two months since the speed limit was reduced to 80 kilometres an hour on the Via de Cintura, which caused outrage amongst drivers at the time.
But public complaints have faded fast and are now almost non-existent.
The speed limit was set by the Consell de Mallorca, who said the change was needed to reduce noise and pollution and claimed it would lead to a drop in accidents and traffic jams.
“We are happy. It’s working as we planned, there is less pollution and the noise has decreased,” says Mobility and Infrastructure Minister, Iván Sevillano. “There have been no accidents and traffic jams have decreased."
Sevillano pointed out that when the speed limit was first announced, three groups formed: those in favour of the measure, those against and those who were sceptical.
"The truth is that the sceptics and some opponents have told us in private that it's going well," he claimed.
But others point out that the new speed limit came into force on February 1 during the coronavirus pandemic and traffic has been lower than usual.
"Apparently it has gone well, but conclusions cannot be based on those two months, because traffic movement has not been normal," insists Biel Moragues, President of the Asociación Sindical de Autónomos del Taxi de Mallorca President, or ASATM. “Nobody is working, there are no coaches, no VTCs and barely any rental cars are running, so we have to wait and see what happens when normal activity resumes.”
Federació Balear de Transports President, Salvador Servera, pointed out that statistics indicate that traffic has fallen by 30% due to the pandemic. He insists that the Federació was not opposed to lowering the maximum speed, but called for compliance with the Mobility Sector Master Plan, special lanes for high-occupancy vehicles and other measures. Servera added that the DGT Report on the Via de Cintura speed limit also makes these recommendations.
"When we govern, we will eliminate it,” insisted PP Spokesperson, Llorenç Galmés. "They have not achieved any of the goals set and have created a problem for drivers without any technical justification. They could have limited the speed to 90 or 100, instead of 80; they could have imposed speeds in sections with more traffic jams, but they arbitrarily decided that it should be applied to the whole route.”
Ciudadanos and IP agreed that until the usual traffic levels are recovered, an adequate assessment is impossible.
"It was a measure imposed, perhaps to cover up other issues, which has only created discontent among drivers,” according to Ciudadanos’ Beatriz Camiña.
IP Island Councillor, Antoni Amengual said the technical reports don’t confirm the suitability of the measure.
The DGT has not yet installed fixed radars to monitor compliance with the measure, but sporadic checks have been carried out with mobile radars.
The Mobility and Infrastructures department plans to install five sensors on the Via de Cintura to measure pollution and noise at the junction with the Andratx motorway, the Son Rapinya exits, Carretera de Valldemossa and Carretera Manacor near Carrer de Aragó.
Information collected via the sensors can be monitored almost instantly through a digital platform.