Undergrounding of infrastructure: everywhere except Badalona

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Barcelona, Hospitalet, Sabadell, Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Montcada and El Prat de Llobregat. Six cities that have buried infrastructure, or are going to bury it, with concrete plans and closed financing. In some cases, to bury the train, and in others, to bury the cars. With tunnel lengths from the modest kilometer in Sabadell to the four that will transform Montcada.

On top of the new spaces, walks, facilities and homes have been or will be born. In the case of El Prat, 5,000 are expected in the future neighborhood of La Paperera, on an area double that occupied by the highway in Badalona. All the works in these cities have a common denominator: unity in the City Council and clear ideas. Precisely what we lack in Badalona, unless we bring together our politicians to water our ears saying that we are right, that we must bury, and that on top of that we must create a large urban park… just before an election and, after , continue with a very predictable day to day of reproaches and little chapels.

Let us remember that Badalona has a study, modest if you consider it that way, that defined nine alternatives, not only for burial, but also for financing the works to make it possible. It is even surprising to have to remember it, taking into account that everyone who should know about it knows that it exists, as there was the idea of carrying out a Master Plan that fell into oblivion and was replaced by a study commission, accepted as if nothing for a City Council that had neither unity nor clear ideas, and I don’t know if it has them today. A commission that was established, we expected no less, a few days before the last municipal elections and it is not known – or I do not know – what it has been dedicated to during this time.

I would like Badalona to do, lead and pay for the project of whatever the highway wants to be.

In the middle, the hidden card has appeared that serves to activate projects or to put them to sleep, it depends on how it is administered, which is to trust everything in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) so that it decides for us and in the “metropolitan” logic, which It is always a very difficult concept to understand and it tells us that we cannot be singular in this matter and that, like the old Greeks who invoked the oracle of the Gods, we must wait for them to tell us how we should want it. We, therefore, cannot be singular, and we must accept indeterminate concepts such as that of the “great metropolitan greenway”, which we do not know much about what it is, but which is not a burial.

But here I, modestly, resist. It’s not that I don’t like it when people who know a lot help us, guide us, teach us or explain to us what they would do with the city crossed by the highway. It’s just that I would prefer if we were the ones to provide the starting point. And the starting point should be the burial and, then, what to do on top and how to pay for it. And this is where, thinking that if adaptation to climate change and future mobility involves the establishment of tolls at the entrance to Barcelona, perhaps we can find an investment fund that will pay for the burial in exchange for a “shadow toll.” ” (not explicit and paid via budgets for fifty years) that finances the work. And this is also where, above and to the sides, we can try to fit – in surface rights – public and free housing developments with their corresponding green spaces and facilities.

Because technically, perhaps not the entire stretch but a good stretch, this infrastructure can be buried. And what I would modestly ask for would be fewer study commissions and to say yes to the expansion of the existing study that specifies a proposal based on total or partial burial, and on urban development uses that could help pay for it. And there may not be any benefits. And it may not be possible to bury it, or the work may not arouse any interest in financing it as others have financed it. But at least we will know and we will not have to wait for the oracles to tell us what future they have decided for us. Nor will we mess around in committees made up of technicians for whom this highway is twenty of their priorities… Hey! And I understand it. I would only like Badalona to do, lead and pay for the project of whatever the highway is. How have cities managed to hide their scars?

Ferran Falcó, president of the Restarting Badalona Association