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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Mobility

Plenary members vote to ban quads in Ses Salines park

Foto ple febrer premsaAttendees of today's plenary meeting of the Formentera Council have agreed unanimously on the initial draft of revisions to Ses Salines parking directive. Transport councillor Rafael González described the changes as “aimed at promoting sustainable transport within the limits of the protected zone” while still “conserving the natural surroundings”.

Among the major tweaks highlighted by the councillor is the regulated control of vehicle access to the park—from 10 May to 30 September for Illetes and 1 June to September for Es Cavall den Borràs—“a change intended to bypass parking difficulties in those areas”, declared the councillor.

Another policy shift trumpeted by González: “Four-by-four vehicles will no longer be allowed access to the park, given concerns about the damage they inflict on the surrounding environment and traffic safety”. Said the head of transport: “We've decided to regulate four-by-four entry into the park because it's the spot on the island where the traffic situation is the prickliest”. He added: “The Council is working with rental agencies so that these [four-by-fours] can be gradually phased out”, saying the vehicles known popularly as quads aren't compatible with the sustainable transport the Council is seeking to promote.

Regulating bus access

Moreover, the Council has moved to regulate bus access to Ses Salines in light of buildup during the most popular travel times. On regular service routes, one bus may enter the park per half-hour and at no additional cost. As for service-by-request routes, the one-bus-per-half-hour quota still applies, but drivers must pay between €0.80 and €1.20 for a parking space (depending on the season). Between 12 noon and 5 p.m., access is forbidden flat out.

As for heavy-load vehicles, typically carrying merchandise to area restaurants, “access will be restricted during the busiest hours of tourist transit”, according to the councillor. Transport vans and lorries will be able to access the area until eleven in the morning and after five—or seven—in the evening, depending on the time of year. Councillor González pointed out that other changes included updating the removal protocol for illegally parked vehicles. He indicated the revisions had generally been welcomed even by opposition members of the Council, which explained their support for the measure.

Parking in la Savina

Plenary attendees also voted unanimously to ratify the accord for a government commission that will oversee payment rebates on parking in la Savina. Explained González, “we've made some adjustments to reduce the administrative workload and streamline the process for Formentera residents requesting or renewing their parking pass”.

Escoleta nursery schools

All representatives at the plenary voted to support a proposed revision of the Council's interior directive on public nursery schools (escoletes) as well as the tax ordinance to finance them. In that regard, education councillor Susana Labrador highlighted increased enrolment at the schools in recent years. “Formentera's nurseries now accommodate 130 children aged zero to three, compared to just 38 in years past”, pointed out Labrador. She said that expansion proves the Council's dedication to providing the much-needed service to local families and, moreover, heralded a greatly-reduced 2015-16 waitlist (it comprised three toddlers) Labrador said was thanks to the opening of the nursery school located at the football pitch”.

Councillor of sport reports on recent action

Jordi Vidal, councillor and head of the office of sport, provided an account of his office's activity over the past year. During the report back, Vidal received positive valuations from all the municipal groups that participated. Among the different actions from this past year he highlighted the creation of Formentera's athletics school, the programme to promote sportsmanlike values, the expansion of opening hours at the fitness centre/swimming pool to include Saturdays and the new funding model for local sports clubs. He also declared: “Formentera is working with other branches of the public administration to create a space to offer nautical sports services”.

Formentera to coastal authority: make new walkways accessible

passareles 03The Formentera Council's office of mobility has contacted the Balearic coastal authority to request  «the removal of architectural barriers in the recently-installed waterfront walkway». The appeal was made by Formentera's councillor of mobility Rafael González in a letter sent today to Gabriel Pastor, director of Coastal Demarcation Baleares.

Resident complaints

The Formentera Council hopes its intervention will help solve a problem which has been reiterated in numerous grievances since December. Resident complaints have taken issue with the «design of the new duckboard footpaths at different locations along the Formentera coastline». The remodelled walkway follows the same path as before but «changes have been made to the height, the angle of inclines and beach access points», González said. The head of mobility noted that ramps at entry points have been replaced by very large steps.

Following receipt of the complaints, the CiF office of mobility ordered a technical report taking stock of the new walkway design. The report mentions «spots where walkers could easily fall distances of more than a metre» and notes other points of «difficult access to beaches, especially for individuals with reduced mobility and families with baby prams».

Positive review of the remodel

Nevertheless, Councillor González gave a positive review of the coastal authority's investment in the Formentera coastline and indicated it «is necessary for the regeneration of the island's dunes». Still, he said Formentera hopes for a solution that can combine «dune regeneration with proper beach access for everyone».

Hence the Council's petition to «eliminate the architectural barriers in the walkways installed in Formentera in the final trimester of 2015». In his letter, Councillor González highlighted the importance of «removing the stairs and barriers that are problematic in the current walkway».

González said the Council is ready to answer any questions on the subject and provide the coastal authority with any additional information. He indicated the Council's willingness to discuss different possible solutions to the problem.

Decision to slash metred parking pay period fuelled by resident requests, officials say

Ple desembre 2015 premsaThe Formentera Council convened officials and party representatives for the administration's final plenary assembly of 2015. The session was marked by the announcement that definitive approval had been secured for the administration's 2016 budget and of a deal reached by the cabinet committee concerning 12 comments on legislation behind a tax on holiday rentals. Tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer said the administration would support the measure “as a means to an end to benefit a clear cause, namely the environment”.

The assembly approved the early stage of a plan to tweak the regulatory tax code related to vehicle parking in La Savina, plus a revamping of the regulatory by-law defining the town's parking services. The two proposals won backing from every group save for abstaining Partido Popular representatives. Mobility secretary Rafael González outlined the central features of the planned changes and, in response to requests from the La Savina neighbourhood association and representatives of area businesses, highlighted a rollback in the pay-to-park system's summer hours (metred service will be in effect 9.00am—9.00pm instead of until midnight), explaining that “no parking issues arose during that part of the evening”.

The other important change González pointed to was the creation of parking plans for €200 a month in summer and €100/month in winter. For full-time Formentera residents that amount will be fully refundable and for home-owners or renters in La Savina who stay on the island for more than three months yearly, it will be half off. González explained islanders could expect to see a phase-out of free parking decals as “controls will henceforth be conducted directly via parking metres”.

Individuals with reduced mobility will be exempt and not required to obtain a parking pass. The secretary also highlighted efforts currently under way to find an overflow lot where motorists could park a maximum of five days in a row. Representatives of PSOE and Compromís praised the metred parking system's inaugural year. PP representatives, for their part, criticised what they called “changes which were rushed through”.

The session also ended in unanimous support for the proposed creation of a regulation concerning volunteers for sporting events. Two PSOE measures that got cross-party support involved the implementation of renewable energy systems in Council buildings and an appeal to the central government in Madrid to protect the right to housing.

Alternate car park in la Savina closes

The Formentera Council was unable to renegotiate a rental contract for the land used for the 'dissuasive' car park in la Savina. Located on a lake-side lot opposite the Illes Pitiüses park, the site provided an alternate parking solution for drivers who don't have the free-parking decal. Cars currently parked in the lot must move their vehicles from it in the days to come.

Administration officials lamented their inability to reach an understanding with the lot owners and continue giving drivers in la Savina an alternative to the system of regulated parking. The department of transport is working to find another space where drivers can park for free even if they don't have the pass required for the blue and green zone parking system.

Winter hours take effect for la Savina street parking

Aparcament la Savina premsaEmployees of Formentera’s office of transport announced today that, effective Sunday 1 November, winter hours will be in use at regulated parking spots across la Savina. The pay-to-park system will apply Monday through Saturday mornings from nine a.m. to two p.m., and afternoons, Monday through Friday, four to eight. Parking will be free on Sundays and bank holidays. The winter scheme will remain effective until 1 May.

Beginning Sunday, residents and local businesses with the pay-to-park decal will be able to leave vehicles for up to 3 days in both blue and green zones; in summer this period was just one day. For decal-holders residing in la Savina, the 3-day limit for blue-zone parking is in addition to a 15-day limit.

Positive feedback
Transport councillor Rafael González gave positive reviews of the programme in its first summer: «We met all of our goals; people who wanted to patronise businesses in la Savina – or park and catch the Eivissa ferry – were able to use the new system without any problems. The same for la Savina town residents». Councillor González said that in the first six months of application, the Formentera Council collected 120,000€.

González also reminded residents that drivers without a decal can park at the 110-space lot opposite the Illes Pitiüses park, next to l’Estany des Peix, and that drivers of electric vehicles though not in possession of a decal are always free to park in blue zones.

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