April 16, 2021

Barrage of permits to install terraces over car parks in Madrid

The image of the vice mayor, Begoña Villacís, cutting a ribbon to inaugurate the terrace season during the de-escalation, in May, already warned of the delivery of the Madrid City Council to facilitate things to the hotel industry. Although it had to put its interests ahead of the drivers, another of the groups that the new government team has taken care of the most: only in Chamberí it has taken away 370 parking spaces to award them to hoteliers.

This central district of Madrid has become the spearhead of the municipal strategy for the redistribution of public space during the pandemic, during which 10,285 square meters of road have gone on to house tables and chairs for terraces so that bars and restaurants feel at your clients abroad. In Madrid, 306 local permits have benefited from these permits, of which 115 are in Chamberí. The area that concentrates the most is the Ponzano area, a street that now resembles a large linear terrace on the road, according to data from the Madrid City Council consulted by this newspaper. Salamanca (57), Arganzuela (40), Chamartín (28) and Retiro (24) are the districts that follow, at a great distance.

The number of authorizations has been growing month by month, as the municipal technicians gave the green light to the permits: by mid-September they had been granted half, but the municipal machinery was accelerating during the fall, in what has been described as an “incredible effort by municipal officials” by the Chamberí coordinator. “Those that are pending a response is because a request has been made that has not yet been answered,” said the coordinator during the last plenary session of the Chamberí Board, in which she made it clear that her team was turning to grant the maximum possible authorizations within the legality approved by the Terraces Commission last spring.

The typology of the new terraces is very varied: most places have chosen to place tables and low chairs, keeping the safety distance and with hardly any decorations. Others have adopted enclosures and decorations befitting the business. Most are also adding heaters to combat the cold. The criteria for granting more or less parking spaces is not clear, as some businesses have obtained double or triple the space than others of similar size. What is evident is that the formula works: if the rain does not intensify, the tables and chairs fill up every weekend.

Neighborhood complaints about the abundance of terraces

The Madrid City Council ensures that only parking spaces for residents are being lost with the changes: in Chamberí it has launched to repaint the blue area with green to balance the lack, although for now it has not yet fully achieved it. According to data provided by the district councilor, Javier Ramírez (PP), 341 green squares of the 370 disappeared have been compensated with the terraces.

Despite this, many residents of the area are complaining that they cannot park as before. Even they staged a demonstration for the councilman at the door of his District Board. shouting: “That councilor is invited to the bar.” “More trade, fewer bars” was another of the slogans of the residents present launched to demand more aid from the City Council to all neighborhood stores while complaining that so far the entire focus of municipal action is placed on the hospitality industry.

The situation of open bar for permits in Chamberí contrasts enormously with that of its neighboring district to the south: in Centro, all requests for the placement of terraces on the road have been rejected on the grounds that the green squares occupied by others cannot be replaced blue, as non-residents are not allowed to park in Madrid Central. The Center Board He raised two night tables that two locals in Malasaña had installed without a license. However, the specific cutting of a street – that of Espíritu Santo – has been allowed so that some restaurants place your terraces on the sidewalk while pedestrians circulate on the road.


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