Twenty years fleeing from the noise of Gran Via de L’Hospitalet: “You can’t live here”

  • A hundred families from the great Catalan city are fighting against the noise pollution generated by the traffic on the C-31 at its entrance into Barcelona

  • Although the City Council committed to coverage two decades ago, today the administrations do not see it as feasible and are studying alternatives

Luis Parra (60 years old) lives escaping from his own house every day: “You can’t live here; I spend the day away because being in this flat is horrible“. The cause of his permanent escape is the decibels that the apartment that he has shared for four years with his partner supports, Ines Sanchez (62 years old)a room at number 49 of the Gran Via avenue of L’Hospitalet.

Luis and Inés are one of the more than hundred familiesas indicated by the Ildefons Cerdà Neighborhood Association of Gran Via Sudaffected by the noise pollution of the surroundings of the central stretch of two hundred meters of the Gran Via between the points km. 1+160 and 1+135shocked by the noise of the C-31 traffic, as they record the banners reviews of the balconies in the area.

Neighbors have been battling noise in the area for 1998, when the Gran Via remodeling project was approved. “Already then we knew that it would be a problem”, comments Paco del Rio, spokesperson for the neighborhood entity. While the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends reduce levels below 53 decibels during the day and 45 at night for road traffic, neighbors routinely record levels above 70 decibels, having reached more than 80 on occasion, they remark.

In an exhaustive and recent report from February 2022, which EL PERIÓDICO has been able to access, the Trustee of Greuges of L’Hospitalet, merche garcia, supports the citizen claim. The residents, the Ombudsman certifies, suffer levels of acoustic immission “higher than those provided by the normative“, a fact for which he recommends the City Hall of L’Hospitalet negotiate with the Generalitat of Catalunyainfrastructure owner road C-31to agree on measures to minimize noise as well as to study the viability of the covering of that section of the Gran Via.

“As a result of the Ombudsman’s report, we have given new impetus to the issue,” he admits. David Quiros, Ward III Councilor (Santa Eulalia and Gran Via Sud) of L’Hospitalet Town Hall. Quiros, that positions the local administration with the neighbors, ensures that they are currently awaiting a new meeting with the Department of Territory of the Generalitat in mid-July. It is expected that in this meeting the Catalan executive, whose General Directorate of Environmental Quality carried out a report that endorsed the noise pollution above the regulations, present alternatives to mitigate the effects of noisewhose feasibility will study the consistory.

The municipal compromise of 1998

The residents have been waiting for the covering of the aforementioned section of the Gran Via since over twenty years agospecifically since 1998. On April 3 of that year, the remodeling project for Gran Via between the Alhambra street and Ildefons Cerdà square. As the Ombudsman points out, despite the fact that the coverage of the central section was planned, it was not included in the final text “only due to budget reasons“, fact that annoyed the neighbors and motivated allegations of the Ildefons Cerdà Neighborhood Association of Gran Via Sud.

As a result of the neighborhood unrest, on June 30, 1998, the city council and the neighborhood association signed an agreement that was later ratified by the Municipal plenary session of L’Hospitalet. In said agreement, the council undertook in writing and explicitly to execute the covering of the section. As of June 2022, more of twenty years after the assumption of the municipal commitment, the work is still not completed.

“If this action, for any reason, was not started before 2002, the City Council will assume the execution of the covering so that the work is finished before April 30, 2003″, guaranteed the agreement, which contemplated the withdrawal of local resources and a contentious-administrative before the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia that they had initiated against the Remodeling Project of Plaza Cerdà del Barcelona’s town hall.

Beyond budgetary reasons, Raul Alvarindirector of Consortium for the Reform of Gran Viaalso highlights the technical difficulties that coverage would entail due to the location in that area of ​​the alhambra collector“a collector of sewage water giant whose descent presents great difficulties”. This collector, Quirós reaffirms, makes the coverage scenario today “unfeasible”because “no administration could manage to assume it”.

60 decibels 30,000 later

Francisco Bermudez (50 years old) lives with his wife and daughter on the fifth floor of the number 29 of the Gran Via, another of the affected blocks. His case is special because, in addition to the inconvenience caused by the noise itself, he has tinnitusdisease consisting of listening to a constant beeping.

“Is it due to having lived in this neighborhood for the last 50 years? I don’t know; doctors don’t go that far, but I know that noise bothers me a lot,” Bermúdez describes. These discomforts, which make his daily life difficult, especially during the hours of sleephave led him to invest in recent years about €30,000 in seal the whole floor for you soundproofing.

“What has depressed is that, after completely isolating ourselves, with everything closed, we are still throughout the entire floor at about 60 decibels [por encima del límite recomendado]”, concludes Bermúdez showing it to this newspaper with a decibel meter.

“Traffic has changed life on Gran Via”

Residents affected by noise from Gran Via agree that the traffic and the noise pollution it generates have changed life in the Avenue. That’s how they tell it Àlex Robles (56 years old) and Manuel Peguero (37 years old), a couple who lives on the fifth floor of number 29 Gran Via, another of the affected buildings.

“For a few years now, the volume of traffic has increased during peak hours, especially after 5:00 in the morning,” claim Robles and Peguero, who, in addition to finding it difficult to To fall asleep they also do it for telework, as also happens to Ines Sanchez, who remembers that 30 years ago, when his parents moved to the neighborhood, there was already banners on the balconies against noise.

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“I am a radio amateur and on our balcony it is impossible to hear anything,” he assumes louis parrawho admits having considered leaving his flat if the noise problem is not resolved, a solution about which, after so many years fleeing noise from his own home, Francisco Bermudez confesses to having “lost the hope at times”.

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