More trees for Prado?

28th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

28 November 2007, Madrid - The mayor of Madrid's controversial plan for the redesign of the Paseo de Prado - home to two of the city's most famous art museums - saw another chapter unfold on Monday, as what may be the definitive proposal was unveiled.

28 November 2007

Madrid - The mayor of Madrid's controversial plan for the redesign of the Paseo de Prado - home to two of the city's most famous art museums - saw another chapter unfold on Monday, as what may be the definitive proposal was unveiled.

Mayor Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón has seen tough opposition since the original project was presented in February 2002, and as a result, the plan has been altered seven times. Most complaints have come from ecologists, unhappy at the number of trees that would have to be felled along the leafy boulevard, which runs past the Thyssen-Bornemisza and Prado museums.

But Gallardón managed to skirt such issues, claiming that not one of the 4,638 trees that populate the area would be touched - he even said that 2,373 new trees would be planted. The plan would double the width of the sidewalks to eight meters, while the number of traffic lanes will be reduced from 12 to six. The section in front of the Thyssen, which has caused the most protest from ecologists and Baroness Thyssen herself, will have five lanes in front of it.

According to Gallardón, traffic in the area will drop by 30,000 cars a day - 37 percent less than its current level. However, Ruiz-Gallardón failed to expound on just how his plan would reduce traffic, and nor did he give any information on timescales or budgets.

The plan still has to pass through several more stages, likely to last around eight months, before it comes before the Madrid council for approval. The final approval will lay with the regional government.

But the mayor's new scheme has already been roundly rejected by environmental groups, local opposition parties and Carmen Cervera - aka Baroness Thyssen.

"I don't believe that they're not going to touch the trees," said Cervera on Monday. "I'm going to study [the plan] down to the last detail and then give my opinion." The baroness is due to make an official announcement later today.

Even more critical was the group Plataforma SOS. Paseo del Prado, whose members include representatives from Ecologistas en Acción. They called Gallardón's plan "pharaonic," given that many of the suggestions made to the council regarding the initiative have been ignored, with this latest version being unveiled without anyone's prior knowledge.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL. / J. SÉRVELU / Á. GARCÍA / Santiago Hernández Galán 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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