Lonely Planet Writer

Barcelona is looking to banish cars from more than half its streets

Traffic is the bane of many people’s lives in busy cities, so it might not be surprising that Spanish city Barcelona is looking to turn more than half of its streets into pedestrianised green spaces.

Barcelona, Spain.
Barcelona, Spain. Image by diegofeltri

To further encourage people to leave their cars at home, the city is also planning 186 miles of cycle lanes and a makeover for its bus routes. The powers that be in local government wish to start the project in Eixample, the area known for its grid layout similar to those common in the United States. There, the city will cordon off “superblocks”, and no traffic will be allowed there. Salvador Rueda, the city’s director of urban ecology, told The Guardian “I’m already fantasising with neighborhood-organized inflatable swimming pools in the summer.”

Barcelona. Image by Bert Kaufmann / CC BY 2.0

However, the changes are about more than just getting rid of gridlock for tourists and residents. Barcelona and many other areas in Spain haven’t been meeting the EU targets for the quality of air, so this move may also ease pollution by reducing emissions and increasing flora in the vicinity. And who doesn’t love a green space for a picnic during an urban summer, eh?