More disruption is planned for the streets of Arguineguín on the south coast of Gran Canaria. Not only is a major contraflow system already in place throughout the town, which has been heavily criticised for blocking access to many of the local businesses, but now it has emerged that there is a plan to pedestrianise large swathes of Lower Arguineguín, replacing the beach front thoroughfare along with a huge number of shorefront parking spaces. Now residents are asking who is it that benefits from these plans? While there may well be benefits to reducing traffic in the area, nobody seems to have communicated with local residents how this might improve the town, and, so, many are asking if this is just an effort to force residents to use the new multi-story carpark, which nobody knew they needed and which has been under noisy construction for the last two years in the centre of town.
Mogán Town Council has awarded a contract to plan the pedestrianisation of a large part of lower Arguineguín, near the beach, by engaging a “Project drafting service” to draw up plans for the “Pedestrianisation of Miguel Marrero Rodríguez street, and adjacent streets in Arguineguín”.
On April 20 the councillor for Services and Works, who is also second deputy mayor, awarded the drafting of this project, at a cost to the public purse of €16,028.60, with which they intend to pedestrianise the entire lower part of the town of Arguineguín, in the surrounds of Miguel Marrero Street, the main road that crosses from the entrance of Arguineguín on the GC-500 to the whale’s tail roundabout.
The town hall decree awarding the contract says “the intention is to revitalise the coastline of Las Marañuelas beach, in Arguineguín, to make this area a point of social and commercial attraction, reducing noise and pollution levels, making Calle Miguel Marrero Rodríguez more permeable, to be able to cross and walk calmly without thinking that a motor vehicle is coming”.
Residents are skeptical about the plan to pedestrianise the streets closest to the sea, with some suggesting that the truth is perhaps a touch more sinister, as many suspect their town hall is now working hard to eliminate all possible parking spaces that may exist in Arguineguín in a manner that would help to ensure the large carpark they currently have under construction will be successful, in essence producing extra everyday economic expense for all residents and visitors in Arguineguín.
The recent road works in Arguineguín, say locals scrutinising these new plans, already presupposes the clear aim of easy access to the new carpark, without having other options for parking your vehicle before arriving at the paid parking that has been under construction for the last two years. Say goodbye to free parking in Arguineguín, they warn.
The new car park, which nobody in Arguineguín seems to have thought we needed, has also come under recent fire, on the basis that no one expected it would reach its current height, having left neighbouring streets, and even the first floor of the IES de Arguineguín school, in some cases totally without visibility or in others having reduced visibility and air flow to the first floor classrooms.
The previous public parking area behind the Arguineguín health centre had space for 200 vehicles and for rubbish bin rooms and a recycling area, and although at times it was full, it functioned quite well and cost little to maintain. This new paid parking, multimillion euro construction will offer 486 spaces of which, a large number are reserved for the Ministry of education and potentially for other municipal vehicles.
It seems a very strange thing when public servants, who work for the residents of Mogán, like those who serve in this town hall, produce a plan to pedestrianise that takes residents by surprise like this, while causing upheaval and constant extra expense. Nobody seems to feel like they are involved or consulted before these projects get the go-ahead, and the people are asking why they do not seem to have a voice on their own town council. If they don’t feel they are benefiting, then who is benefitting?