Calming traffic and reclaiming the historical memory of Via Laietana

The traffic calming process for Via Laietana is under way and involves a series of measures aimed at improving links between the Gothic quarter and the old quarter in the neighbourhood of Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera. The municipal government measure includes reforming Pl. Antoni Maura, widening and improving the pavements along different sections, regaining the historical memory of the avenue and explaining its origins, and making changes in front of the police headquarters and in Pl. Antonio López.

Pl. Antoni Maura currently suffers from traffic congestion from taxi ranks and parked motorcycles and tourist coaches, hampering connectivity for pedestrians between Av. Catedral and Av. Francesc Cambó. Because of this, the two traffic islands there will be removed, the pavements widened and pedestrian crossings repositioned.

Pavements along various other sections of the road will also be widened, improving mobility for pedestrians, damaged elements will be repaired, school footpaths will be created to help pupils from local schools get around, and more recreational use of the street will be promoted. The work will be carried out between 2018 and 2019.

The Councillor for Ciutat Vella, Gala Pin, affirmed: “It’s about minor calming measures in the road to regain connectivity between the neighbourhoods in the old quarter and the Gothic quarter, for which an overall revamp project is on the horizon, with a participatory process to be opened up during this term of office”.

Regaining the historical memory of the road

Apart from the planning measures to be carried out, work will also be done to promote the memory of the construction process for Via Laietana. That means looking at what the demolition of an entire neighbourhood to make way for the avenue meant on a social and economic level, and creating routes and signage accordingly. The Commissioner for Memory Programmes, Ricard Vinyes, explained: “Via Laietana has a historical and memorial density, because of how and why it was built, which needs to be explained to the public”.

Two of the points where changes will be made are the police headquarters, located at number 43 and the scene for dramatic acts of repression in the city, and Pl. Antoni López, dedicated to one of the main figures in the exploitative trade circuit with Cuba. The sculpture there will be withdrawn and a proposal will be made for the site, coinciding with the change of name.