26 October 2009

Zone 30 in Barcelona

Photo courtesy of Barcelona Cycle Chic.

I published my christmas list a while back - 30 km/h zones all over Copenhagen. The Dutch responded quickly, slapping a bold proposal on the table in Amsterdam for a 30 km/h in their city and now, feliz navidad from Barcelona:

From the City of Barcelona's website we can see that one of the most important 'Zones 30' in the city is now being carried out.

'The city embarks on one of the largest "Zones 30" campaigns to be carried out to date. Work began on Monday 25th in the La Ribera district. It will last six months and cover 14 neighbourhoods in 7 of the city's districts.'

June 2006 saw the first pilot "Zone 30" designated in the Sant Andreu district. Accident rates in this region were subsequently found to have dropped by up to 27 %. Numbers like these are what we are seeing in cities and towns that are reducing their speed levels.

It is a simple, inexpensive tool to promote traffic calming and to reduce accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists as well as to reduce the number of serious accidents.

The creation of these 30 km/h zones [even lower in school zones] is one of the primary tools that is most effective at fighting the societal scourage of traffic accidents and to encourage cycling. Not to mention just making a city a nicer place to live.

Barcelona will have 215 km of 30 km/h zones by the end of the year. At the moment there are 50 km.

Thanks to Txell from Barcelona Cycle Chic for the tip.


Saschi said...

Clap clap clap!!! Yes!!!

Anonymous said...

"Bon Nadal" would be better than "Feliz Navidad"?

Kiwehtin said...

We've been having discussions for a while in Montreal about a 30 km/h maximum in some areas. A lot of the problem though is that merely posting the new limit doesn't really do much to change the average driver's urge to go faster. You need significant changes in street design that defeat the current perception of drivers that a street is a long, straight, "all clear to zoom without attention" zone. That's a real problem in Montreal, with our typical long, straight, narrow blocks that mean the streets with all the housefronts on them are long, straight zones with clear sight lines to the next intersection, that invite motorists to go heavy on the pedal to get to the other end. The kinds of modifications you find in Dutch "woonerven" (enclosed residential zones) do a lot to alter motorists' perception that the streets are there for their convenience above all else. A lot of simple things like bulging sidewalks, several speed bumps and raised crossings along the length of the block and replacing parallel to sidewalk parking with perpendicular parking in blocks that alternate sides so as to make the route curvier, would both go a long way to slow down car drivers. (And universally permitted and signalled two-way bike traffic even on streets that are one-ways for cars.)

I would wager that the less attention paid to actually modifying the street design as opposed to simply posting a 30 speed limit, the less successful the 30 zones are likely to be. (And the other way round as well, of course: the more modification of street design, the more successful they will be.)

As for the language appropriate for Barcelona, Anonymous at 14:59 is right. Unlike my city, which is built around historically established English and French speaking communities, Barcelona is historically, like the rest of the Catalan lands, Catalan in language, with only small and insignificant (until the middle of the last century) immigration from Castilian speaking parts of Spain. That Spanish is all over the place now is because of the policy, continued from the Franco era and earlier, that forces all Spaniards, whatever their own community's language, to know and use Spanish and only gives the other languages secondary status and only on their own territory, at that. "Bon nadal" it should be, to respect Barcelona's catalanitat.

Marc B. said...

Yes, as a Catalan from Barcelona, "Bon Nadal" is better.

Consider information about bike from Barcelona's Council as simply political propaganda. I live near the Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu and before it was transformed in 30 zone, Council said that accident will drop. Et voilà, later they say accidents have droppe 27%. Nobody knows in what is based this number. The reality is that any ciclyst uses this 30 zone. Probably I'm the only one ;-).

Some example about the reality of every day in Barcelona:


More information (in Catalan, but you can use Google Translate): http://blocs.mesvilaweb.cat/bloc/view/id/5830/cat/68

Mikael said...

How about I just say Go' Jul! This is Europe, after all, so it's just easier to use one's own language. :-)

Kiwehtin said...

About the appropriate Christmas greeting, Mikael -


Given what your blogs are about, it should be God Hjul!


Ernest said...

From the view of a Danish, the "area 30" can be a good news, if a Danish designs the road, of course.
In Barcelona the "area 30" not have nothing of positive for the cyclists. They are usually narrow streets, where the cars oblige you to pedalling very strong, while they are at half a meter behind you, and they keep cornering you as if you were a fox in a hunting. Uuufff....
The areas 30 are a trap. The mayor of Barcelona should come a week to Copenhagen, and move in bicycle.
Happiness for the bloc.
Moltes gràcies.
Catalonia is not Spain.

Ernest said...

Kiwehtin. I love you!

Stefan said...

Ghent, where I live, is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in Belgium. They have a lot of bicycle and pedestrian sensibilisation campaigns. though not all of them are all that clever, most are.

But anyway, what I just wanted to let you know is that Ghent has no less than 1.400 streets that are zone 30. Most of them inside the city periferic, but also some outside the city centre. Ghent also has a car-free area of 35h - the complete city centre, really.

Plus, Ghent won the Civitas-Award this year because of that. Read here: http://rinsider.clubferoviar.ro/en/afiseaza_stire.php?id=5099

Bicycles are at the heart of Gent's mobility policy, and the city has proven its dedication to this priority through the creation of a large pedestrian area in the city centre, the development of a primary cycle network, a student-friendly bicycle rental system, and plans to build a garage for more than 10,000 bicycles. These efforts are complemented by a host of public transportation services, namely extended tramlines, segregation of public transport lanes, longer operating hours, free night buses, and free public transport for children under the age of 15.

Which makes me wonder: why is Copenhagen not a member of the Civitas-Forum?

Brandon said...

Why not at the same time push for a 20 km/h max for cyclists? It'd sure make me feel safer on the bike lanes in Copenhagen not having to worry about everyone racing past me to the next intersection.

Anonymous said...

I think concerning enforcement of the limit (@Ernest): Confront the suckers! Most of us still know motorist, so if you observe this kind of behaviour among your friends: tell them that they are ***holes and this is not acceptable behaviour. I my experiewnce this helps since often they are really surprised because they percieve fast driving as the normal, even expected social norm. Its up to us to change this. If girls do not go out with speeding car drivers and men overlook reckless girls I am quite sure this will work....