Madrid closes the Puerta del Sol to cars and begins the works for total pedestrianization

The works to remodel Puerta del Sol begin today Thursday, August 20, passing the central square, and several of its adjoining streets, to be pedestrian. In total, pedestrians will count when it is finished with 16,751 m² (5,464 m² more than those now existing) and will mean the elimination of some 7,000 daily vehicle movements, according to the council.

When the Madrid City Council presented the project of the new Puerta del Sol, at the beginning of this year, announced that the works would begin in 2021, but finally the date has been advanced to this summer month of August 2020.

This action now takes effect hand in hand with the publication of the decree, signed by the delegate for the Environment and Mobility, Borja Carabante, fulfilling “one of the most important and symbolic measures of the Madrid 360º Environmental Sustainability Strategy“.

What streets become pedestrian?

Goodbye to cars in the new Puerta del Sol in Madrid, which will be more open and will return to the design of the 19th century

In this way, and starting the works today, Puerta del Sol is closed to traffic, as well as Calle Mayor (from the square and to the corner with Calle Esparteros), Calle Alcalá (between Sevilla and Sol), Carrera de San Jerónimo (between Plaza de Canalejas and Kilometer Cero), Calle Espoz and Mina (between Calle de la Cruz and Carrera de San Jerónimo) and Calle de la Victoria (between Calle de la Cruz and Carrera de San Jerónimo).

Puerta Del Sol Pedestrian Street Map Source: Madrid City Council

The 5,546 m² that this area gains are distributed as follows: 1,555 m² of Puerta del Sol, 1,448 m² of Calle Alcalá, 945 m² of Carrera de San Jerónimo, 817 m² of Espoz y Mina Street, 546 m² of Calle de la Victoria, and 235 m² from Calle Mayor.

Thus, according to the consistory, it will save 7,000 daily vehicle movementsMost of them are taxis, according to the Madrid City Council, and this translates into 50% more pedestrian area for this area.

Fines of 90 euros for improper access

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The consistory has signposted the entrance to these new pedestrian areas, although it has not been limited by fences, since loading and unloading is still allowed to supply the establishments in the area.

However, the City Council announces that the Municipal Police will carry out controls in order to avoid the access of private vehicles, as well as taxis and VTC. The sanction to access the Puerta del Sol, as well as the designated sections and streets already restricted to traffic is 90 euros.

The Madrid City Council claims to have launched an information campaign, with 40,000 letters sent to residents of the area, indicating the alternative access points for road traffic, as well as the new placement of the EMT bus stops previously located both in the square. as in the streets that become of exclusive use for pedestrians.

In addition, information brochures will be distributed on the affected bus lines and at the Plaza Mayor Tourism Center.

Total, ten EMT bus lines are affected for these works: seven daytime (3,5, 15, 20, 51, 53 and 150) and three night (N16, N25 and N26). The new stops are listed in this map.

For their part, alternative access for cars and private vehicles are as follows:

  • Access by main street: Esparteros street – Province square – Imperial street – Toledo street.

  • Access by Atocha street: Plaza Mayor / Bailén tunnel – Comandante las Moreras square – Mayor street – continue along the same route as above.

Returning to the original Puerta del Sol

Madrid Central Almeida

The project that will shape the new Puerta del Sol is signed by the architects Ricardo Sánchez and José Ignacio Linazasoro and its objective, according to the mayor Jose Luís Martínez-Almeida, is to return the square to its “original character” going back to “as it was in the 19th century”.

This will mean delete some of its elements and relocate others, passing to a Puerta del Sol more open than the current one. Thus, the central area of ​​the square will be emptied, eliminating one of its sources (currently it has two). In its northern part, where the streets Alcalá and Arenal end, it will be delimited by stone benches and in these two corners the statue of El Oso and el Madroño and La Mariblanca will be located respectively.

For its part, on the east-west axis, the statue of Carlos III will be placed closer to the Royal Post Office, in addition to being rotated with respect to how it is today

Likewise, Sánchez and Linazasoro’s project includes building new pavilions, similar to the ones that Puerta del Sol once had, where the kiosks that are now scattered around it will be placed, as well as the elevators that give access to the Metro.

Yet It is unknown if the dome known as ‘La Ballena’ will also be removed, through which the Metro and Cercanías are accessed, as it is not included in the original project.

And is that the proposal presented by both architects dates from 2014, the year in which the then mayor Ana Botella took it out to public tender. Martínez-Almeida made the decision to resume said project instead of opening a new call.

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