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I initiate> News> THE COUNTRY 1/19/2009 To The work, better in bus or in bicycle

THE COUNTRY 1/19/2009 To The work, better in bus or in bicycle

There were finished the big speeches, the endless studies and the well-intentioned projects that stay in nothing. There has come the moment to go on to the action and to apply, already same, concrete measurements to improve the quality of the air in the cities across the public transport. This is, at least, the opinion of the experts in sustainable mobility. A matter in which, as in so many people others, Spain walks to the tail of Europe. Although there are experiences in march (like the speed limitation to 80 kilometers per hour in Barcelona) these are shy. The current culture of the car and the traditional scorn of the politicians have, according to the experts, the fault.
In Esparreguera (Barcelona, 22.000 inhabitants) the Town hall has just approved a bonus of 35 % on the Tax of Economic Activities (IAE) for the companies who design a mobility plan for his workpeople. The initiative is laudable, say the agents, but it stays very far - per time and dimensions - of those who reign in the European capitals. In Brussels, for example, the companies with more than 200 employees are forced to write mobility plans. The system works for seven years. The signatures that facilitate buses (and the personnel who use them) receives, also, tax benefits.

"Spain has fallen asleep and the European Union takes us a big advance. They do things to themselves, but without waybill they remain in the mere anecdote", there judges Andrés Luis Romera Zarza, teacher of a master's degree of mobility in the Polytechnical University of Madrid. The same epithet - "anecdotal" - it is used by the coordinator of the Foundation Sustainable Mobility, Pau Noy: "The Central government nor them autonomic they worry about the topic. Only the front part has taken Catalonia, and nevertheless, it would be in the European squad".
The experts coincide: Catalonia is the "spearhead" of the politics that think about how to corner the car and raise to the podium to the public transport. Five years ago it was the first community that was provided with a mobility law. And at the end of 2007 it approved a polemic measurement that, nevertheless, has already yielded his fruits: the speed reduction in the routes of access to Barcelona to 80 kilometers per hour. The number of dead persons in accident has fallen down 50 % in these routes. And around him an a little healthier air is breathed. In one year, the emission of dioxide of carbon and of particles in suspension of the tailpipes has reduced 4 %. In the same proportion the gasoline consumption has fallen down.

Nothing more there was known the proposal of the Catalan Government, the Real Motor Club of Catalonia and diverse political groups expressed his rejection. The idea did not also convince, to the beginning, the drivers, disliked for having to raise the foot of the gas pedal. "In our culture, the car is an idolatry object. The lobbies of the sector of the motorcar are strong. It seems that, in this democracy, the vote of the drivers counts more than of that we use the public transport", ironiza Manel Ferri, responsible for transport of Working Commissions.

Last Thursday the second part of the plan came into force: the variable speed. It talks each other of that to fix the speed limits across luminous panels and according to the congestion, the meteorological conditions or the contamination. The pitchfork goes from the 40 to the 80 per hour. The system is not new: it is used for time, and with reasonable acceptance, in London, Birmingham, Utrecht or Amsterdam. The Generalitat foresees, also, to join Barcelona with a score of cities by means of direct buses that will have a frequency of step of 30 minutes.

The transport represents the fourth part of the gas emission of greenhouse effect and 36 % of the energy consumption eats up in Spain. Hence the importance of limiting to the maximum the circulation between the metropolitan areas and the center of the cities. The collective transport (bus, railroad, meter, tramcar in surface) and the bicycle they must finish with the reign of the car, as he gathers the Spanish Strategy of Climate change and Energy It Cleans.

Big European cities have chosen to restrict the use of the private vehicle, especially in the center. London impelled the urban toll five years ago: to gain access to the center in working days it is necessary to pay a valuation for eleven euros. The result: the traffic in the British capital has fallen down 30 %, with the consistent progress of the quality of the air.

In Berlin there exists a "environmental area" of 88 square kilometers where the cars that more they contaminate have the vetoed access. A similar measurement, although softer, he has adopted Milan: the drivers of slightly efficient cars pay between two and ten euros a day. A web page (Low Emissions Zone, or, areas with low emission) enumerates approximately 80 municipalities that, of a way or other, have restricted the access to some vehicles. There are cities of Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark or Norway. At the moment, no big Spanish metropolis.

In Rome, for some winter days, only cars circulate for his streets with registration pair or odd, according to the day. In Madrid, remembers the teacher Romera, "something tried to become similar, but it did not pass of a pilot plan". One proves more of the hierarchy of the car. Madrid is one of the cities that more he has invested in public transport (especially, in the meter) and nevertheless "it has not lost rolled traffic because highways keep on being done", indicates Noy.

Inside the downtowns the things have become slightly better, underline the experts. Not so much for relieving the effects on the environment as for the need that the cities are more kind for the citizen. "The measurements to calm the traffic have a big tradition" in Spain, according to the first Report on the local struggle politics against the climate change. One treats, in these cases, of peatonalizar the streets (whole or partially) and of creating areas with residential priority. In San Sebastian, for example, there are peatonalizado 50 streets in the last years, a measurement that "humanizes and relaxes the city" and that "it has been positive for the commercial activity", emphasizes a municipal spokesman.

The areas 30, where the speed is limited to 30 kilometers for hour, also have spread. The same as the carsharing service: the users register in Internet and agree to share the expenses of the same car with other citizens who cover the same route to go to study or to the work.

The principal capitals have been impelled many of these initiatives from the Network of Spanish Cities by the Climate, which groups 150 cities, between them. To be a member it is necessary to fulfill certain targets on the subject of environment and, therefore, of sustainable mobility. Inside this patrol is Vigo. The Town hall and Citroën have prepared a mobility plan. The project has allowed to bring the bus service over to the areas where the workpeople live for the most part, tells the mayor, Abel Caballero, that he is at the same time a president of the Network.

The municipalities of the Network are compromised to that his vehicles fleets are efficient and use clean energies. For example, that the urban buses work with alternative fuels like the compressed natural gas, the biodiésel or the batteries of hydrogen. Also they must contemplate the use of bicycles as way of transport of some of his officials.
Although there are only "a partial solution" to the problem of the mobility, the bicycles every time are more present in the urban framework. The proliferation of rails bike has allowed it. For example, in Valencia. "We impel 78 kilometers of rail bike. We have gained space for pedestrians and cyclists and have an ambitious plan so that it is possible to park the car in the outskirts of the city and, from there, to gain access to the center in public transport", there reviews Alfonso Novo, councilman of Transport. In the quarter of Carmen, also, the limitation is current also to 30 per hour.

In Barcelona, it has been decided in favor of the green parking areas. It is a question of areas where the residents have priority to park (to that they it are not, it works out for them too expensive). "You avoid this way the circulation of many foreign vehicles in search of parking", indicates Ferri. The collected money has been used, partly, to impel the Bicing, the service of rent of public bicycles of the city. The same that in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn, where, also, the bikes have priority semafórica.

In the line of encouraging the public transport and the amiability of the environment, many cities have recaptured a way of historical transport: the tramcar. Valencia began in 1994 and he was followed by Bilbao (2002), Alicante (2003), Barcelona (2004), Vélez-Málaga (2006), Seville, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Murcia and parla, in Madrid, (2007) and Vitoria, last year.

The experts insist that it is a question of isolated initiatives and they coincide with the need that the Spanish Government approves a mobility law. "There has been a big disconnection between administrations. Catalonia, Basque Country and two Castiles have approved norms, but each one goes from his part and they do not speak about the same", the teacher Romera argues. "Big speeches are done, but it is necessary to go down to the facts. We know for time what it is necessary to do. Now it is necessary to start working", highlights Ferri, who, also, says that there is still designed "politics