Madrid 360: Almeida relaxes the restrictions to access the center by car | Madrid


Almeida, during the presentation of Madrid 360. In video, Almeida lowers the restrictions to enter by car in Madrid.



The anti-pollution plan of the Madrid City Council, with which it is intended to replace Central Madrid, has been baptized as Madrid 360 and will enter into force next year, "during the first semester." The mayor's project, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, downgrades some of the measures put in place by the previous mayor, Manuela Carmena: some vetoed vehicles may return to circulate in the heart of the capital. At the same time, parking rates will be cheaper for less polluting cars, which include those that have a C-label, and the motorcycles will have a wider schedule for driving through the low emission zone (ZBE). In the medium term, Madrid 360 is more ambitious Madrid Central because it prohibits, as of 2025, the circulation of the most polluting vehicles - those that do not have a label - throughout the municipality. Carmena had set that goal, with the same date, only for the center of the capital. (Interactive: check the air quality in your street in Madrid)

Madrid 360: Almeida relaxes the restrictions to access the center by car



Central Madrid, a restricted traffic area in the center that limits access to private vehicles based on its environmental labels, became a throwing weapon during the electoral campaign last May. The PP said it would reverse the area of ​​low emissions, while Citizens talked about improving it. After forming both government parties in coalition, Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida (PP) tried in June - unsuccessfully - to temporarily abolish fines in the ZBE. But two courts the feet stopped him from the capital. In addition, the State Attorney General's Office You have an ex officio investigation into that attempted suspension. At the same time, the European Commission remains vigilant with pollution in Madrid, with a file open to Spain for breach of European air quality regulations, with special emphasis on the legal limits of nitrogen dioxide.

When Madrid 360 is activated, and unlike what is happening now, vehicles with a C label - gasoline after 2006 and diesel after 2014 - with two or more occupants can freely move through the low emission zone when they are considered " high occupancy vehicles. " Until now they could only access the almond if they went to a parking lot. According to the Study of the Circulating Park of the City of Madrid of 2017, 31.32% of passenger cars in the capital are labeled C. To know the environmental category of your vehicle you can check the website of the General Directorate of Traffic (www.dgt.es).

Among the new measures, the City Council considers motorcycles "a more sustainable means of transport than passenger cars", so it will encourage their use. To do this, the specific parking spaces (up to 21,000) will be doubled and their opening hours will be extended to the center (those with a B and C label): if they could not circulate after 22.00 now, in the future they can do so until midnight.

Madrid 360: Almeida relaxes the restrictions to access the center by car



In addition, merchants will be considered "neighbors" in the Madrid Central area, so they will enjoy the same conditions (and the same 20 guest passes) for residents. To make it easier for cars to access the center, parking fees will be cheaper - electric cars will be able to park for free, ECOs will pay 50% less and Cs, 10% less - and places for non-residents will be increased.

The City Council hopes to complete its reform of the mobility ordinance in the first half of 2020. Until then, the current regulations of Central Madrid still in force. Before the changes are implemented, the ordinance must go through its administrative procedure, with the opening of the corresponding public consultation period. According to the mayor, his project aims to "reconcile air quality with social progress."


Click to see the area occupied by Central Madrid.



enlarge photo
Click to see the area occupied by Central Madrid.

The plan provides for the gradual prohibition of the circulation of the most polluting vehicles in the city; that is, those classified as A, which have no environmental distinction. In parallel, it will offer a line of aid for the renewal of the fleet, endowed with 50 million euros per year.

Madrid 360 divides the city into five rings: Sun zone; Downtown district; interior of the M-30; zone between the M-30 and the M-40, and the outside of the second ring road. "Madrid Central is already surpassed," said Almeida, who argues that his is "a global strategy," which affects all 21 districts. Following this division, as of January 1, 2020, vehicles A may not park in the area of ​​the first and second ring (the central almond). From January 1, 2022, non-residents will be prohibited from accessing and circulating within the perimeter of the M-30. A year later, the restriction will extend the ring road itself. On January 1, 2024, no vehicle A may enter the municipality, except residents. In 2025, no vehicle without a label, whether neighboring or not, may drive through the city.

Underground of the A-5 and deletion of some bike lanes

Within the measures of the plan, proposals already defended by Almeida have been included as the burial of the A-5. The mayor has also influenced the idea of ​​"claiming" to competent authorities (Community and Central Government) the construction of Bus-VAO lanes on access roads such as the Extremadura highway (A-5) or in Elliptical Square (A- 4), where right now there is the pollution measurement station that has the worst levels in the entire city.

The City Council also proposes other anti-pollution measures that have nothing to do with mobility, such as the replacement of coal and diesel boilers or innovative techniques in Valdemingómez for the management of polluting gases. According to the mayor, the City Council wants to “absorb three times more emissions than what was intended with Central Madrid”.

In the center, the City Council will launch two "zero zero" bus lines: "Zero cost and zero emissions," Almeida said. One will run from north to south, between San Bernardo and Puerta de Toledo; another, from east to west, between Felipe II and Moncloa. The EMT will also launch a more perimeter service (with cost): that will surround the central almond to try to solve the "congestion in boulevards and rounds", in the words of the City Council.

The mayor has also announced, without giving many more details, a plan for "reordering cycling routes." Also the suppression of bike lanes that, according to Almeida, "hinder traffic." He has not specified which, but by previous comments from the City Council, the boulevards or Toledo Street could disappear. "It does not mean that we do not bet on the bike, ”said Almeida, and then announced that the Bicimad public bicycle network will continue the expansion plan initiated by the previous government.

The local administration will continue with the path initiated by the Manuela Carmena government regarding the replacement of municipal vehicles. The objective is to ensure that in 2023 100% of vehicles of the City Council are sustainable.

Critics of Ecologists in Action

Paco Segura, spokesman for Ecologists in Action (EEA), the organization that succeeded in stopping the moratorium on fines in court, believes that Almeida "has presented many measures that were already contemplated in Plan A", while others are " very negative ”, Miguel Ángel Medina reports.

“It is dangerous that vehicles with a high occupancy C label, with only two people, can move freely through Central Madrid. These vehicles represent more than 30% of the circulating fleet, so this measure is clearly negative and will increase traffic rather than reduce it, "continues the EEA representative. He also believes that greater access for motorcycles or the descent of the The price of municipal car parks "will encourage access to the center." With this type of measures, “the City Council tries to distort Madrid Central”. The environmental organization does not rule out taking the new measures to court when changes in the ordinance begin.

The new plan has been presented on the last day of the deadline that the City Council had set. To prepare these measures, Almeida commissioned an express audit to Deloitte to outline its alternative plan to Central Madrid. The contract was tendered for 17,908 euros (VAT included), without public concurrence - it must be done by law from 18,000 euros - and gave two months to develop "the Madrid emission reduction strategy", a time and a small budget, according to several mobility experts Although Almeida has defended that Madrid 360 has been prepared by the Environment Department and has had the "advice" of Deloitte, the whole process has been surrounded by secrecy. Previous anti-pollution plans, neither the EMT, the Polytechnic University nor the air quality commission has been convened.

On the other hand, both Más País and the PSOE have denounced before the Electoral Board the presentation of the anti-pollution plan that took place on Monday at the Moncloa Lighthouse because it is considered an electoral act held during the general elections.

Before Central Madrid, in the capital, there were already four areas where car access was limited (residential priority areas or APR of Courts, Letters, Ambassadors and Opera), which were now encompassed in this area of ​​472 hectares. A report has described Madrid Central as the most effective EU low emission zone against pollution.

However, nitrogen dioxide levels (NO2) in the central station of the Plaza del Carmen, the only inside Madrid Central, rose in July and August to a level similar to the month of March, when the fines for accessing the area had not yet entered into force, according to a report by Ecologists in Action based on municipal data. The organization linked this data to the Almeida moratorium that, for a week, eliminated the fines and the confusion created by the City Council regarding the possible cancellation of Central Madrid.

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