Palma City council is studying the creation of an inner-city ring road in a bid to ease traffic in the city centre. The idea, unveiled by city council spokesperson José Manuel Sierra, yesterday involves the creation of new access roads to the industrial estate and city centre, making it easier for drivers to leave the city centre, the widening of the via cintura and the construction of 25 kilometres of new inter-connecting bicycle lanes. In the on-going war on traffic in Palma, which the council has yet to properly get a grip of, City Hall also wants to reduce traffic along the Paseo Maritimo while reducing the need for people to use the city centre as a “hub.” The council wants to provide alternative routes so drivers do not need to enter the city centre to cross the capital. José Manuel Sierra said that this new and extended set of traffic plans is based on the results of the second phase of the Palma mobility study carried out on behalf of the city council. José Manuel Sierra stressed that, quite simply, unless swift and effective action is taken with the full co-operation of the general public, by 2010, the traffic situation in Palma will be “alarming,” exactly how some people would describe the issue at present. Traffic levels are rising by 4.5 per cent a year in Palma, the Via cintura handles 170.000 vehicles per day in each direction, the Avenidas 118.000 and the Paseo Maritimo, 50.000. But, in order to push ahead with the “vital” second ring road, the railway tracks will have to be sunk underground - a project which will throw Palma into construction chaos all over again. While councillors and engineers mull over the new and complicated road plans - a network of cycle lanes covering a total area of 25 kilomtres does look set to be built, linking the city centre with many of the key neighbourhoods. The city council is also hoping that the new public transport “bus-rail” rover tickets (see graphic) launched yesterday will encourage people to come to Palma but leave their vehicles at home.

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