Plan? What plan?

Last Friday was the first day of Seville's new "Plan de Trafico", whereby motorists who stay in the centre (within the ronda, except for Marques de Paradas, part of the one-way system) for more than 45 minutes will be fined 70 euros; the restrictions (ie the cameras) are in place now, though the penalizacion won't start till after the puente at the beginning of December. That's the busiest time of the year in the centre, with everyone coming into Seville to enjoy the pre-Christmas atmosphere, go to the Belen fair and buy their presents and pastries of the season for 25 December, and for Reyes. One Sevillano newspaper article on the subject started off with a definition of the word plan: "a systematic model of a pubic or private action, which is formed in advance to guide and direct it". The writer comments that the city's new Plan de Trafico for Sevilla's historic centre (the biggest in Europe, apparently) is a public action, but that's about it - in terms of "in advance", nada. That's Spanish plans for you in general - lots of great ideas, no idea how to put them into practice. Other press coverage was similarly dismissive, comparing the camera coverage to Gran Hermano (Big Brother), and using the opportunity to bring in a mention of other upcoming restrictions, unconnected but equally unpopular in Seville (with Spaniards, anyway). The date when the plan was going to start was only agreed on recently, and was not publicised; and the information office in Plaza Nueva, to explain the plan to local people, was equally last-minute; many of the streets where people enter the casco antiguo from the ronda do not yet have "Accesso Regulado" signs warning motorists of the new restrictions. Any tourist arriving unawares in a hire car, as many do, and parking near their hotel in Seville's historic centre, where most of them lodge, will get a whacking fine. Families visiting grandparents will have to cut down the chit-chat to a minimum. But the worst affected are tradespeople - plumbers, electricians, builders, repairmen, whose clients live within the centre of Sevilla, and who need to take their van - their economic situation will be direly affected unless they can complete their house call and get the hell out of dodge in less than 45 minutes. Shoppers using certain designated car parks will be not clobbered - for example, the El Cortes Ingles car park in Plaza del Duque is exempt. It's going to be fun trying to get in there in mid-December. The horario of the new restrictions is 8am-10pm Monday to Saturday, so the day to visit Seville, if you want to park in the centre and have lunch followed by a leisurely stroll, is Sunday. Of course the biggest plus of the Plan will be the reduced pollution. And Sevici, Seville's bike hire service, will be in demand like never before.
Blog published on 25 October 2010