The Community of Madrid is developing its "superblock" tests, new concepts of roads closed to traffic. A project already being tested in cities such as Vitoria and Barcelona.
The Madrid City Council continues discussions to limit traffic in the city center with the creation of "superblocks" to reduce the weight of traffic in different areas, give more space to pedestrians and, ultimately, reduce vehicles. Safer, less polluted and healthier roads for citizens, especially the elderly and children.
The local government will start a pilot project in the Salamanca district by December and then expand it to other neighborhoods if successful. One of those responsible for starting the project is the urban planner José María Ezquiaga, one of the experts who recovered this proposal already approved 10 years ago as part of a strategic project for the Center of Madrid.
The initial plan is to articulate the urban space into cells of about 12 blocks each, so that they are independent of each other. A sort of "watertight compartments" that is not limited to its own viability but includes its own commercial fabric and services.
The idea is that all these "superblocks" include essential services and daily activities so that the residents of each of them have everything at hand in a space with very few vehicles. This would give residents more freedom, so that they can go out and walk more regularly in their areas, also promoting a more sustainable life.
It is an economic and reversible model and, because of this flexibility, its investment in settling would not be high for the coffers of the Community of Madrid.
The creation of the "Superblocks" in the different neighborhoods of Madrid, just like those that are already being tested a Barcelona, Does not entirely prevent cars from passing through these cells. The passage would be granted to public transport (with preference for electric ones) to vehicles of incoming residents and to vehicles for loading and unloading goods (with preference for electric ones).
In the superblocks, the car gives way to pedestrians
On the basis of other attempts elsewhere in the world (shining the Seattle example that constantly "steals" pieces of driveways and returns them to cyclists and pedestrians) the design of the superblocks aims to combine livability and efficiency.
In addition to facilitating the mobility and sustainable life of the residents in each of the "Superblocks", this project is useful for improving the quality of life and air in each neighborhood, thus promoting the reduction of CO2 emissions.
In short, it is a question of reversing the relationship between cars and pedestrians. Vehicles are the current masters of cities: little roads and sidewalks removed. Restoring space to citizens, within a framework of green spaces and accessible services, means abandoning the use of cars and making it essential, not superfluous.
And in Italy?
Feasibility studies continue almost everywhere, with all the difficulties associated with the economic situation, but our cities seem designed to naturally welcome a revolution such as that of the "Superblocks".
Our Florence, for example, seems already designed with this destination in mind. The question is, as always, political: the adaptation of our neighborhoods must go hand in hand with services and infrastructures, and thus the "natural" advantage of our cities is reduced due to the slowness in structuring the spaces.