On the eve of European Day Without Cars, Palma city council unveiled an ambitious plan to increase the number of car parking spaces in the city centre. Palma deputy Mayor José María Rodriguez and José Manuel Sierra vice-president of the Palma Municipal Parking board explained that the near 7'000 million peseta project will focus on the streets Constitución, Paseo Mallorca, Via Roma, Porta Santa Catalina and Santa Pagesa. Rodriguez believes that the new car park plan “will solve the city centre's parking problems and sensitively change the city for the better.” In total, 4.300 new car parking spaces are to be created, 1.237 of which will be set aside for Palma residents and 956 used on a “rotational” basis. Rodriguez is also confident that the project will be given the necessary building permission on Tuesday, so work can get under way as soon as possible. As part of the project, the Ramblas will be extended all the way up from the steps of Plaza Mayor to the Avenidas, the Port of Santa Catalina will be completely reformed, new pedestrianised zones will be created in Santa Pagesa. José María Rodríguez added that the new car parks will feature tight security controls, remote control barriers for residents and plenty of ramps for the disabled. City residents who have a citizen card will also be able to pay for their parking by credit card. But while more parking will be welcomed, the project means even more construction work and in some areas the improvements will take up to 17 months to complete. Palma's largest car park is located between the streets Auxias March and Plaza Santa Pagesa, covering an area of 19'000 square metres. The second largest is on the Paseo Mallorca, 18'000 square metres followed by Santa Catalina, 10.8000 square metres, Via Roma, 9'600 square metres and calle Constitución, 3.000 square metres. However, before such a project goes ahead, Palma opposition councillors want the recently built Paseo Mallorca underground car park to be inspected by council engineers. There are serious concerns about its safety following the appearance of a series of cracks in the roof and an increase in the number of leaks. Above ground, there are slabs of the road running over the car park which move when buses or heavy goods vehicles pass over. Yesterday United Left city councillors complained about the lack of time pedestrians are being given to cross roads by the pedestrian traffic lights.

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