The center of Tarragona is under construction. After seventeen months since the pedestrianization project for Canyelles street was presented, finally on April 8 the first actions began, an intervention that must mean a before and after in this area and which days later was added the works of the new inclusive playground on Ixart Street.
The fences and construction booths hide the magnitude of this straight line that, from Estanislau Figueras to Plaça Corsini, will practically be completely transformed. In the middle there is an imposing Rambla Nova that at some point will also have to follow the same steps. Meanwhile, residents and businesses in the area watch with expectation as their environment gradually changes. “This was a low-cost pedestrian street, because in fact they could only park motorcycles, but we believe that a square in this area will generate life and atmosphere,” says Clara Medina, from the Puericultura Vallès store, on Ixart street.
In this 400-metre section, the equipment for the new playground has practically been installed, which will be the first inclusive one in the centre. The works have not yet been finished, but the rubber material on the floor and the new bike racks have already been installed. “There are not many parks in this area, the closest one is Verdaguer and it is always full, so we hope it will liven up”, adds Marc Pardo. It is now a transit street, so it is hoped that the new play area will make it an attraction. Likewise, the public that it will attract are potential clients of the establishment, so the transformation is faced with optimism.
In Canyelles, progress is currently being made with the preliminary works, which will serve to transform this axis into a single platform, only for pedestrians. “After twelve years enduring the works of the market, we deserved that this whole area be dignified, because now nobody remembers, but it was hell,” says the president of the Associació de Comerciants del Carrer Canyelles, Jordi Gombau.
The merchants endure with resignation these weeks that await them of noise, dust and with the fences almost touching the shop windows. “It is a pity that it did not start after Reyes, as they had told us, because now it catches us in the middle of the summer campaign,” he adds. Despite this, Gombau says he feels “optimistic.” “We should be thankful that it has been fixed, because it will mean an important improvement for the center and a change for the entire city, because you are linking two very powerful poles, such as the Rambla Nova and the Mercat”, he continues explaining.
Gombau is convinced that this action “will generate a more powerful center”, although he defends that this action should be accompanied by measures to “facilitate parking”. “If we start to eliminate spaces, then this will be a drama and parking in the center has always been very complicated,” he adds.
The works did not get off to a good start because of the controversy over the trees. «They cut them down and instead they have left the streetlights and everything else. I don’t know, the sidewalks were already new, maybe just changing the furniture would have been enough,” laments Antonio Álvares, from the Salomó Tuset Pharmacy. These days, the pace is still slow and there are few personnel on the construction site, an issue that is beginning to worry some merchants, who are counting down for these four months in which they were planned.
“We are turning the streets into small squares, which are a reservoir for pedestrians to be comfortable, so that they are not only spaces for passage, but they can be there,” says the councilor for Territori, Xavier Puig. Along these same lines, action has been planned on López Peláez and Josepa Massanés streets, which will be used to widen the Maria Cristina sidewalk. “It is a more significant change than we think it will surprise,” adds the third deputy mayor. According to the calendar, these works could start in October.
All these works are in the line of decongesting the center and that pedestrians gain prominence. In fact, Canyelles could be considered the first phase of the future downtown super-island, with Plaça Corsini and its surroundings, and which will later also be extended with the Fòrum de la Colònia. “Little by little and by installments we are moving towards a reduction in private vehicles, even in some residual cases, giving more importance and prominence to pedestrians,” continues Puig.
This same week, the local administration put out two tenders through the public contracting platform that affect the drafting of the Fòrum de la Colònia project. These affect, on the one hand, a diagnosis with a feminist perspective of the future park and, on the other, the environmental advice for the urban project for the conservation and accessibility of the site. The objective is to transform this enclosure into a public park, for this purpose the local administration has a help of three million euros, from the Next Generation funds.