This Friday 22 September, Barcelona held its Car-Free Day, coinciding with the World Car-Free Day, with the aim of showing what a city with fewer cars could be like. For the second year running, the event, which closes the Sustainable Mobility Week, took place on a week day.
76 secondary and local streets were closed to traffic, 30 in the morning and 32 during the afternoon, while 14 were closed throughout the day.
These closed roads permitted over a hundred public activities that were held without any problems, except for those in fifteen locations, which had to be suspended or relocated due to adverse meteorological conditions.
There were also traffic restrictions in place on Via Laietana and Gran de Gràcia, where private-vehicle traffic was restricted and priority given to public transport. A total of 8,000 schoolchildren took part in these street activities.
Mercedes Vidal, the Councillor for Mobility, stressed the importance of this event in demonstrating what a more sustainable, safer city with fewer cars could be like.
Ms Vidal affirmed that “the idea to take this new kind of mobility one step further, and seeing what happens in a street when there are no cars and people take over.” The Councillor valued all the activities that took place in the city during the day.
At the Crossroads for Air Quality, at Comte Borrell with Tamarit, an air-quality mobile unit measured the noise and pollution levels in the days before and during the Car-Free Day.
It was shown that atmospheric pollution was 17% lower than on the previous days at this location, and 67% lower than levels at the crossroads between Gran Via and Comte d’Urgell, a nearby location open to traffic. Noise pollution was 3% lower compared to previous days, and 11% lower than at Gran Via with Comte d’Urgell.
The Car-Free Day was held as part of the 2017 Safe and Sustainable and Safe Mobility Week, which took place from 16 to 22 September and featured a wide-ranging programme of activities organised by the City Council, organisations and associations, with the aim of promoting more sustainable mobility habits for city residents while also showcasing changes in the use of public areas in order to create a greener, more comfortable and less polluted city.
Barcelona City Council is raising awareness about the importance of reducing the use of private vehicles, and increasing the number of journeys made on foot, by bicycle or on public transport, in accordance with the guidelines established in the Urban Mobility Plan (PMU) 2013-2018.
The Safe and Sustainable and Safe Mobility Week is part of the European Mobility Week, in which hundreds of cities in various European countries organise a week of similar activities to those in Barcelona, in order to raise awareness about a healthier, safer and more sustainable type of mobility that benefits everyone, and including restrictions on the use of private vehicles on Car-Free Day.