The parking spaces in the Serrallo will be, starting this summer, a green area, which means that the residents of the neighborhood will have preference when leaving their vehicle parked compared to the rest of Tarragona. «The purpose is to regulate parking, and for the place to stop being a kind of car cemetery. El Serrallo is a neighbourhood, not a dissuasive car park at the service of the rest of the city”, says Xavi Puig, Councilor for Territory and Mobility of the Tarragona City Council.
Residents have been denouncing the use of the neighborhood as a municipal car park for some time, taking into account that all the spaces are white zones, that is, free. “People who live on the outskirts of Tarragona leave their car here first thing in the morning. He walks to the downtown area to work. In the afternoon, when they finish, around eight o’clock or so, they pick it up”, explains the president of the Associació de Veïns del Serrallo, David Martín, who adds that “in this way, there is no rotation of vehicles and the residents of the neighborhood they never find a place. Another neighbor, Justo Velilla, explains that “I get up around four in the morning and there are always free places. At half past nine in the morning, everything is already full. El Serrallo is the car park for those who live outside of Tarragona. We are tired”.
Tired of this situation, the neighborhood entity held a meeting with the partners a few days ago to hear their opinion. The proposal, which was supported by a large majority, is to convert the neighborhood’s parking spaces into green areas, which will give preference to residents when parking. Residents will pay 0.40 euros per day and, in addition, to register they will pay 15 euros, which will only have to be renewed in case of changing cars. On the other hand, non-residents will pay as if it were a blue zone: two hours, four euros, and the first half hour, twenty cents. Sundays and holidays, free.
The neighbors made the request to the City Council last Friday, and the proposal was very well received by the government. “We will do it. We just wanted to make sure there was some consensus in the neighborhood. We took the order and, in the next few days, we will transfer the order to the municipal parking company”, says Xavi Puig, councilor for Territori i Mobilitat. The calendar is not yet known in detail, but the Consistory anticipates that the change can be implemented during the summer months.
«The City Council is sensitive to everything we ask of them. It is appreciated”, comments Martín, who adds that “we believe that this measure that we propose is the only way we have to change this custom”.
Mireia is a resident of the Serrallo, who explains her experience in this way. “I get off work at two and I only have an hour to eat. I never find parking in the neighborhood and I am forced to leave my car in the parking lot in front of the Tabacalera. Between the time I park and get home, it takes a quarter of an hour. Like super fast, in twenty minutes. It’s a bummer,” explains Mireia. But the green zone squares did not convince him either. “People who come to eat at restaurants will continue to park and even better, since it will be cheaper than leaving the car in the Moll de Costa car park,” says Mireia, who adds that “I also tell you: If they guarantee me I’ll be able to park, I’ll happily pay.”
For their part, the restaurateurs also welcome the initiative. “I agree with the measure. I think that, personally, it will benefit me since it will improve the issue of parking and, let’s not kid ourselves, customers who come to a restaurant for lunch or dinner don’t mind paying for a green or blue zone”, says Xavier Veciana, from the Xaloc restaurant.
Historically, Serrallo restorers have been very critical of the lack of parking in the neighborhood. The alternatives are the dissuasive car park in front of the Tabacalera –which will soon double its capacity–, or the underground car park of the Moll de Costa, which costs 3.05 euros per hour.
The application of the green zone will only affect Sant Joan, Lepant and Salou streets. For Gravina and Sant Pere streets, the City Council plans to pacify. In other words, eliminate all parking spaces and convert the road into a single platform, preferably for pedestrians. In fact, this is one of the great projects of this legislature for the government of Mayor Pau Ricomà: the pedestrianization of the Serrallo.
The project, prepared by Ambitec engineering, is practically finished. “In the next few days, the mayor will meet with the neighbors to explain it,” says Puig, who adds that “it will be then that some changes will be added, if they are convenient, before sending it out for hiring.” The project, finally, will amount to 600,000 euros, almost double what was planned at first. “Gravina and Sant Pere streets will be pacified, through a single platform, similar to Espinach street -the parallel one-“, explains Puig, who adds that “the project also contemplates burying and ordering the aerial wiring, which currently It goes from one building to another. These are two historic neighborhood claims that, finally, before the end of this legislature – in May 2023 – will become a reality.
The only setback that the plan is facing is that part of the financing has not yet been secured. “We will get the money from wherever. If it is convenient, we will withdraw it from another item that is not so advanced,” says the councilor, who does not rule out the possibility of obtaining European funds for the cause. Finally, Puig concludes that “it will be a very important change for the neighbourhood. A transformative idea that will surely serve as a model for other tourist cities such as Tarragona.