This week Badalona has been present at the most important event held in Barcelona. The Mobile World Congress has returned to the capital and the foundation that bears its name has gone ahead, together with 18 cities in Catalonia, an alternative program of activities that has reached Badalona for the first time. It was thanks, especially, to the Restarting Badalona association, which had the idea of putting Badalona on the Mobile Week plan and convinced, first, the Hospital de Can Ruti and Badalona Servicios Asistenciales to activate the one they already act as an innovator and they will show it openly, together with the companies and start-ups that support them. The City Council of Badalona, which believed in the idea and facilitated its entire organization, has been the essential lever so that everything could have been done, using the BCIN building as the headquarters for most of the demonstrations and talks that have been made online and in person.
All this mobilization teaches us that, when we want, we can. It teaches us that aligning civil society and the public and private sectors is the triangle of success. And that it is for the little things, but also for the big ones. We have done Mobile Week in Badalona, but we can do much more. Also dimension, more transcendent and transformative.
There are many examples and we have already discussed them in the past. But the highway will remain what it is if there is no leadership to drive its transformation. If we don’t start the triangle of success. And it is clear that, as much as there are some small walking steps, until the Plenary of the Badalona City Council dedicates time and money there will not be any concrete progress that allows us to see it as what we would like it to be. We can say that some things have been done, but it is clear that there is drive and determination to make more solid.
We should stop thinking that it cannot be here and start thinking that it can also be here
In the case of new mobility, the challenge in Badalona is also immense. It has been spoken in this Mobile Week. Badalona does not have enough bike lanes. Nor does it have any plans to electrify mobility beyond some “what could be” example that we hope to see in the coming months, with some recharging facility. It also does not have any motorcycle, bicycle or scooter sharing service. It maintains a traditional bus supply structure and no new public transport infrastructure can be proposed in the short term. We continue to park “as always”, there is no technology associated with traffic light signals and we are doing it.
But the world is advancing, available technology is increasingly present in citizens’ purchasing decisions and regulatory obligations in relation to reducing emissions are tightening deadlines. We do not know how many new bicycle lanes will be enabled in Badalona, or how parking or urban regulations can be regulated to encourage streets and buildings to have electric chargers. Nor does it seem logical that we are “Barcelona” but we do not have Bicing service, or that private companies cannot bring shared personal mobility services to Badalona. These solutions are on the market, they exist. In fact, they are in the main cities of the world. And of course to cities of our size. That is why the triangle of success must be set in motion – civil society, the public sector and the private sector – to turn Badalona into a city where moving around is not a nuisance for everyone, but a quality option. That you can take an electric bike and get to the port, that the tram has arrived there and you can go to Barcelona, and that to return you can do the reverse journey. And the same on a scooter and to take the subway, the bus or the train. And that the electric car has a place to charge.
It is not impossible, you just have to put aside the mentality of the Badalonese councilor who one day, many years ago, told me that there was no need for wastebaskets, that people use the containers on the streets. Or what he said that we shouldn’t have a theater, that we had Barcelona too close. We should stop thinking that it cannot be here and start thinking that it can also be here. As has been done by taking Mobile Week in Badalona. As was done when the port was carried out, as it should be done to the Three Chimneys and how it will have to be done to become the most important health city in the metropolitan north. We have a ton of “Mobile Weeks” to do, and a success triangle that when you want, you can.
Ferran Falcó, president of the Restarting Badalona Association