Strolling in Madrid, especially in the Centro District, is a favorite exercise with Madrileños. The famous and contagious joy of living and perpetual fiesta mode that so characterize them make everyone, locals and foreign visitors alike, want to hog the sidewalk and relish every moment.
This doesn’t mean, though, that they’ve all taken to walking and that the Centro has turned into one big pedestrian’s paradise where cars have become obsolescent. No way! As one of Europe’s major capitals, Madrid suffers from a frightful number of cars that careen wildly from one traffic light to another, snarling up traffic during the rush hours. And this situation gets confounded during the Holiday Season when it seems that all of Spain will have agreed to converge in Madrid and stick around for fiestas that aren’t likely to run out till the Grand Finale, the Feast of the Three Kings, on January 6.
In general, they come in cars as can only be expected.
So the Ayuntamiento (city government) is implementing special measures to regulate foot and vehicle traffic lest the center of the city got hopelessly tangled up in one monumental chaos. Mobility agents (agentes de movilidad) as of this writing are paying special attention to the entrances and exits of public parking places notably those in Gran Via, Plazas de España, de Benavente, de las Cortes, de Santa Ana, Puerta de Toledo, and Atocha plus the slightly off center ones in Calles de Princesa, Principe Pio, Mendes Alvaro and Raimundo Villaverde.
Calle de Hileras, which tends to suffer from congestion, is bound to be closed at one time or another. When this happens cars can’t access the parking lot in the Plaza de las Descalzas.
Predictably stretches of Atocha, Puerta de Toledo, Plaza de San Francisco el Grande, Plaza de Cibeles, Calle Mayor, Plaza de la Cebada, Calle de Toledo, Calle Bailen, the Glorieta del Emperador Carlos V, and even Calles Goya and Serrano will be jammed up. To try to prevent this from happening, once traffic gets too heavy as to slow down cars to a crawl, the affected areas will be closed off to oncoming cars. This will tend to occur between 12:00 and 14:00 hours and between 17:00 and 20:00 hours.
The Ayuntamiento says that since there’s no foreseeing exactly when this will happen, there’s no way to apprise drivers before hand for detour. The information will be posted on street screens as a traffic jam occurs. At the same time the Ayuntamiento is urging the people to use public transport.
The traffic restrictions, which will end on January 7 of the New Year, are not meant to hassle car owners. It is actually the Madrileños’ way of insuring as much as is humanly possible that those who have chosen to spend the Christmas holidays in their city will have