La Mercè breathes along Via Laietana!

Car Free Day was held in Via Laietana for the second year running, transforming the street into a huge avenue to stroll along, with rest and relaxation areas, games, talks, workshops, an urban wood, concerts and many more activities. Held every 22 September, the day rounds off Mobility Week, a call to be able to live in safer and healthier cities.

22/09/2019 12:46 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

Sunday saw the kilometre-long Via Laietana closed to motor vehicles between Plaça Urquinaona and Plaça d’Antonio López for Car Free Day.

Different sections were set up from 11 am to 8 pm to show the opportunities generated by giving space over to pedestrians and to reflect on the health benefits represented by prioritising sustainable mobility.

Greenery and the idea of a city to play in represent major opportunities when it comes to turning streets into open public spaces, themes which exist side by side with sustainable mobility and people making that space their own. In this respect, this was a chance for people to enjoy an unusual programme in Via Laietana.

  • Picnic area
  • Reading area
  • Concerts and dance workshops
  • Urban wood with city species
  • Garden area and urban cultivation patches
  • Traditional games and board games
  • Debates and talks

How do we fight pollution?

Various action is being taken in the city to cut pollution and improve people’s well-being.

The Poblenou and Sant Antoni superblocks have been created to prioritise pedestrians in public spaces and work is also being done to create others in Horta and Les Corts. The city also has more than 129 km of traffic-calmed streets with curbless paving, as well as around 650 km of streets with 30 km/h speed limits.

The low emissions zone will be in place from January 2020,  coming into force on a permanent basis on working days, from 7 am to 8 pm. The measures will affect 125,000 vehicles and help reduce pollution, which causes 424 avoidable deaths every year.

The increase in urban greenery, with an additional 40 hectares, and the greening up of spaces also helps improve air quality, balance the temperature and make public space more pleasant.

Boost for public transport

Various measures have been taken to strengthen the public transport network and foster its use:

  • A mainline bus network with twenty-eight routes, improving territorial coverage, connections with other routes waiting times and frequency of services. Work is also being done on initiatives in neighbourhoods where conventional services are difficult to implement, such as the bus on demand service in Torre Baró.
  • The L10 Sud metro service has started operating, connecting the neighbourhood of La Marina with the public transport network and settling a historical debt the city had with this area.
  • The development of the pedalable network, with a thousand kilometres of lanes and paths especially conditioned for bikes (bike lanes, 30km/h zones and road surfaces) and the roll-out of the new Bicing service, which operates around the clock and broadens territorial coverage.


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