Pi i Margall street or farewell to urbanism in black and white

Pi i Margall It is one of the streets that best summarizes the town planning that Barcelona seeks to leave behind. 60% of the width of the road destined for asphalt, little or no presence of green spaces, uncomfortable sidewalks, no bike lane and, the jewel in the crown, battery parked cars, a very eighties feature, a distinguishable rarity in scarce corners of the Catalan capital. The city council has detailed this Thursday the details of the reform of this artery that connects the districts of Gràcia and Horta-Guinardó, and that it is part of the (alleged) green axis that must unite the Ciutadella with Collserola. The idea is reverse the landscape, taking away the role of the car to give it to the pedestrian and the more sustainable mobility. The municipal intention is to start the works in June 2022 and finish them not before 17 months. The cost, 13.6 million euros, a figure, by the way, much higher than the advance in March 2018, when the plan was presented and there was talk of 7.2 million.

The main transformation symbol it will be on the ground. Of the hard road will go to granite, to a luck of paved very similar to the one you want install in Council of One Hundred, the first street of the string of 21 green axes that the government of Ada Colau will begin to undertake next year until 2030. And with a certain aroma, although with another dimension, to the improvements undertaken in the Meridiana, the Diagonal or the future Via Laietana. The artery will go from six roads (four for circulation and two for parking and services) to just two: one up (to which a bike lane which will be invaded by the bus at stops, as will also happen in Via Laietana) and one down.

Public transport will circulate there and what the council subtly defines as “local traffic“, that is, a passage open to residents and services. This will be marked, but unlike what is projected in Via Laietana and it already works on the Rambla ascent, here there will not be, for now, control cameras. Cyclists who come down from the plaza de Alfons X must share space with cars, buses, motorcycles and taxis, but the slope, and the speed limited to 30 kilometers per hour, they should assuage the fear of choosing this path to enter Gràcia.

It could be said, that is what the city council sells, that here it is going from a urban highway to a place that invites you to holiday. To stay. The second will be seen when everything is finished, presumably at early 2024. The former is more debatable, since Pi i Margall, at least in its modern history, it was never an artery too busy despite the tipper of rails arranged. The cars that go up to the Ronda del Guinardó usually opt for Escorial, while those looking for the Rovira tunnel They usually go up through Padilla. On the street, there will be a parking area for loading and unloading, bicycle parking and containers. The bus stops they will be relocated, but the idea is to keep them all.

More green

In the nearly 700 meters in length, and an area of ​​25,000 square meters, it is planned plant 142 trees (there will be 201 in total) of 20 different species, The parterre areas and shrub areas will grow from the current 370 square meters to about 3,300. They are also planned 121 chairs and 42 benches and go from 8 to 14 pedestrian crossings. Thus, according to municipal calculations, Pi i Margall will have 80% shade, holy hand in the decade of climate change and heat waves. The sense of well-being It will also be sought through the creation of four new places that intend to become new neighborhood meeting points, which now only uses this street as passageway to go from one place to another. Squares will be created at the crossroads with Joanic, Sant Lluís and Ca l’Alegre de Dalt, Encarnació and Pau Alsina and Sardenya and Providència. Again that aroma of green axes in Eixample, since those 21 axes will also create squares at the intersections.

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The transformation of Pi i Margall already appeared in the municipal action plan for 2007, according to ‘The independent of Gràcia‘. In the following term (2011-2015, with Xavier Trias in the mayoralty) was postponed because of the economic crisis. With the arrival of the ‘comuns’ the subject was taken up again. It was from 2017 when the thing began to take shape from the hand of the dialogue with neighbors and merchants. In March 2018 it was announced that the works would begin in 2019 to cut the ribbon in mid-2020, which obviously did not happen. The budget was then 7.2 million euros. Now it is almost double, 13.6 million, and if everything goes according to plan, in February 2024 there will be scissors and walk of authorities.

Despite being a street with little traffic, the commercial life of Pi i Margall is in good health, with neighborhood and proximity shops, with hardly any franchise presence or from places where you don’t know if you have to get a haircut or order an orange juice. It is one of the fears of the natives: that the reform of the road entails the arrival of a new public and the gradual disappearance of the ‘botiguer’ of all life, as already It happened a few years ago on the restored Paseo de Sant Joan. Another means is the price of the flats. Will the apartments for sale or rent in the new Pi i Margall be more expensive?


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