The city council will readjust the urbanization of the Ronda de Sant Antoni in Barcelona after the neighborhood complaints

  • Neighbors force to redo the design planned in 2022 and the commitment that the project to remove the controversial concrete platform be approved at the end of the term

The repeated and growing complaints from the residents of the Ronda de Sant Antoni have not fallen on deaf ears. After the numerous incidents of incidents and insecurity registered for months and the demand for solutions to the problems of coexistence in the area, the city council has assumed the commitment to backtracking on interim redevelopment design scheduled for next February. Instead, in January they will agree on “adjustments” with those affected, taking into account improve accessibility, increase security in the area and also reinforce cleanliness, instead of betting on a display of urban furniture (with gymnastic elements included) that according to residents and merchants would have increased the high intensity of use and influx of the road more. It also undertakes to approve a definitive project to remove the concrete slab of discord before the end of the mandate, in spring 2023.

The Sant Antoni neighborhood council held a few days ago confirmed the concern of the residents of the area, who add 12 years of affectations, since the tents of the provisional market were installed (nine years) in order to proceed with the reform of the centenary equipment. The transit market was located on a platform or slab which should disappear after the new one was ready, in 2018. But the high cost of its elimination and the desire of the council to conceive a coordinated solution for all the rounds of the center (from Sant Pere to Universitat and Sant Antoni), postponed the plan. Instead, an attempt was made to consolidate for a few years that space of 4,500 square meters gained from pedestrians, as a civic axis.

Situation overwhelmed

Reality prevailed over idealism, and soon the commerce and the surrounding residents verified that the Ronda, which is also the border between the neighborhoods of Sant Antoni and El Raval (Eixample and Ciutat Vella), was a focus of incivism and saturation of uses, as reported by neighbors last summer, when in just three months there were 300 complaints for bottle, robbery, fights and illegal street vending. That space was also taken by the so-called misery market, which used to be located in a small square in the Raval and here it was amplified.

Neighbors came to the council this week determined not to consent to the redevelopment budgeted at 750,000 euros and that they feared it would end up being final. They considered that it was a budget waste and demanded that a definitive intervention be accelerated and without slab. And that the traffic returns to the area, although only of buses, services and bikes, as they had been claiming for months. They came face to face with the new Eixample councilor, Pau Gonzalez, who calmed the spirits and opened a truce phase that has paralyzed the mobilizations planned by the Associaci├│ d’Afectats per la Llosa de Sant Antoni.

“We share the need to act because there is some degradation,” admitted the mayor before the neighborhood requirements. The consistory is determined to remove slab, and with it a pedestrianization that has not worked here, but considers a temporary solution to be urgent. However, instead of the design raised with more furniture, trees and play and picnic areas, a transition improvement what happens to install some confiscated laterals that favor accessibility to the platform, provide more police resources to the axis and increase cleaning resources. It will be agreed with neighbors and merchants in January.

Francisco Villena, as a spokesperson for the association, which has the support of the neighborhood’s commercial entities, highlights in this regard to this newspaper that the few containers of the round overflow at the first exchange, which adds to the ravages of the frequent bottles.

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“In each bank there is a group of six or ten drinking, or using drugs, and yelling and fighting,” complained another resident on the council. “We have been waiting for promises for 12 years, we want a date,” added another affected.

Gonz├ález said that the global debate of the rounds, the participatory process more him blueprint and the draft they draw a long process that hopes to finish in the municipal offices before the next municipal elections, to be executed in the next term. Meanwhile, residents prefer that temporary solutions are not very expensive to leave resources for the final transformation. “I can not specify a date“, admitted the councilman, referring to that moment when the round will have a road again, but with a much more restrictive use than before incorporating the slab.

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