Barcelona in Moscow: is it possible



I recently visited in Barcelona – a great Mediterranean city,which organically combines the features of a large industrial center and a tourist Mecca. It is a metropolis and a resort in one, where next to the ancient walls of the Gothic quarter and magnificent buildings in the art Nouveau style, built over a century ago a brilliant pleiad of architects of Catalonia, you can stumble on modern offices, businesses and warehouses of the trading companies. And the streams of people flowing along the Avenida do many kilometers, parallel to the same endless streams of cars.

This image of the city could soon significantly change. Today in Barcelona unfolds a large-scale town planning revolution which needs only four years to radically transform urban space, limiting the maximum movement of vehicles. Simply put, Barcelona want to make a city for pedestrians – local authorities plan to close 70% of roads, turning them into pedestrian zones and freeing up territory for the creation of pedestrian zones, parks, cafes, cinemas, exhibition centers, clubs, playgrounds and even swimming pools to make the city comfortable for its inhabitants. And this despite the fact that in Barcelona and now a lot of large pedestrian areas. Moreover, not only in the center, crowded with tourists on the Rambla, but in the outer suburbs.

The right to enter the new pedestrian zones will be only the disabled, firefighters and representatives of the public maintenance services of city taxi drivers and doctors “first aid” as well as the drivers of the trucks that deliver goods to stores. All the other inhabitants of the vast pedestrian “supercatalog will move around it on bicycles, electric cars and electrocyclic, the production of which is specially deployed as part of the project. In addition, the authorities will continue the development of the subway lines and let the rest of the highway is a lot of new buses. They will follow every few minutes, and will be an alternative to private cars, the amount of which will decrease by 21%. Not such a big price for what the city will be twice as more green areas, air pollution will decline in two and a half times, but urban noise will fall by 50%.

“After four years there will be a garden city” – known lines of Vladimir Mayakovsky as if specifically written about Barcelona reforms, and could serve as an epigraph to the reconstruction plan of the city.

This project seems fantastic and futuristic – however, he was very thorough, detail developed thirty years ago, and residents of the city for many years sought the opportunity to make it a reality. This happened when the mayor was Hell Cola is very popular in the city, left-wing politician who gained fame by organizing the people to fight the collectors, Wasilewski people on the street for debt on the mortgage. In her opinion, the 60 million euros that will cost this project is not too much to Barcelona has become a city for people not a city for cars”. Besides, Cola has promised that the cost of changing the urban environment will quickly pay for themselves through the development of numerous commercial and social projects to be implemented in the liberated areas, and will give the city a lot of new jobs.

The mayor of Barcelona, is convinced that the concept of “walking the city” will soon become the accepted norm, most cities will soon follow the example of the Catalan capital. This is indicated by the popularity of “walking the reform” – in her support made by representatives of the influential transport unions and drivers of trucks that have a huge impact in Barcelona, with its historical traditions of the Union movement. Although the restriction of movement of vehicles can bring workers in this field a lot of inconvenience.

“I’m tired of every time to leave the city for the clean air, greenery and silence. Why is this not enough here where I live? We used to think that this is normal, but in fact, it should not be. Let the city finally will become our home and not someone else’s office, where we tolerate any conditions to earn a living. I hope in a few years we will remember about goals transportation the streets as a nightmare, and our children will wonder what we were so stupid, allowing myself to live as I live now”, – explained the reasons for this position, one of the activists driving this “syndicate”.

It is obvious that such change is long overdue in the Russian capital, Moscow allowing in short terms to solve its major traffic problems. To transform the urban environment, it is necessary to reduce the number of roads and to restrict the movement of private cars, in parallel with the development of the public transport system. This will allow to improve an ecological situation and solve the transport problem, since the overall reduction in traffic, along with new trolleybuses, buses and trams will allow you to move around the city easier and faster than now, when the movement is critically impede traffic jams.

Of course, there is no doubt that there are many in Moscow, too, thinks these plans are a fantasy. Indeed, in the capital of Russia has become accustomed to the awkward and crazy city life. However, this is a bad habit that it is high time to give up. Despite some differences, the layout of the Central streets of the Russian and Catalan capital in much the same among themselves, and experience Barcelona’s urban planners may find application in the Moscow realities.

What could be a reform if to hold it, based on the radical experience of Barcelona? Charming lanes of the Central part of Moscow have not have a great transport values. Therefore, on their basis it is possible without prejudice to create an extensive pedestrian zone, closed to traffic, except vehicles of municipal services, ambulance and taxi. In these kind of oases will not have problems with the exhaust gases and the noise of the motors – and the place randomly parked cars occupy sidewalks and flower beds, terraces, outdoor cafes, playgrounds, fountains, Bicycle Parking, and plenty of benches. The territory of the new pedestrian areas will take the form of a large Park, and is a convenient space for Muscovites and tourists, in a new way transforming the historic city centre. And located next to major highways that are exempt from the excessive number of cars will ensure the continued movement of public transport on the perimeter of these areas.

Later, when all the Central part of the city will be unloaded from the flow of private vehicles, such as landscaped pedestrian areas should be furnished in other areas of the capital, farther from the center. And if now people often tend to go for a weekend out of town, once the departure in the Central part of the city will, by default, equated with the outdoors. It is not a utopia – it can see the midterm results of their reforms left-wing urbanists – the authors of the concept of reconstruction of Barcelona. And, in their opinion, nothing prevents to implement it in life in any modern European metropolis in particular, and in Moscow.

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