Anyone who’s had a holiday in Malaga recently will have noticed the state of the Alameda Principal. Works on the extension of the Malaga metro to Atarazanas Market mean the north side of the Alameda is completely dug-up with limited pedestrian access. However, a more pedestrian friendly Malaga is on the horizon and slightly sooner than expected!
The bad news is that we’ve still got to wait until mid-2019 to see the final result, but the good news is that at the end of it, we’ll have a much more pedestrian friendly Malaga. The regional authorities (the ones building the metro) and the city council (the ones in charge of the traffic in Malaga) have agreed on a final option for the new look for the Alameda and work finally began on the transformation in June 2018.
Chosen option – Traffic down the middle, pedestrians on either side
In the end, this is the chosen option rather than pedestrians down the middle. It involves getting rid of a lot of the traffic and keeping just 5 lanes (3 for buses and taxis and 2 for cars) instead of the current 11. Many of the bus stops will stay put, but no bus routes will start from the Alameda.
This option leaves room for 2 very wide pavements on the north and south sides of the Alameda. It will allow easy access to the shops and businesses on both sides of the Alameda and leave room for benches, fountains and ornamental areas. Plus there will be a cycle lane. This transforms the Alameda from an area with 70% traffic and 30% pedestrians to the exact opposite – 70% for pedestrians and bikes, and just 30% for cars.
There are also plans to plant a total of 85 orange trees along the pavement next to the shops and restaurants. When they come into bloom in early spring, the Alameda might just be the most sweet-smelling place in town!
Another important part of the Alameda is the Marqués de Larios statue that currently sits in the middle of a roundabout. Not only does the statue pay homage to one of the most important figures of 19th century Malaga (and the instigator of the city’s most famous shopping street), the area under the statue is decorated during important events such as Christmas in Malaga.
The new design of the Alameda moves the statue nearer to the Calle Larios entrance and pedestrianises the whole area. This means you’ll be able to see the statue close up easily and safely, without the roar of traffic as you look up. The Marqués will also get a much-needed face lift – a clean-up and repair that is long overdue.
In complete contrast to the very classical Larios statue, the council plans something very different. At the moment, they’re mooting a surrealistic sculpture. ‘Plantoir’, a giant (7m) garden trowel by Swedish artist Claes Oldenburg is a strong candidate. The 7-metre high trowel would herald the entrance to the Alameda at its west end.
The main reason behind the Alameda project is the metro. Since work started on digging the tunnel under the Alameda, the authorities have seen that a more pedestrian-friendly Malaga is possible in this part of the city. Construction work is going well and slightly ahead of schedule. The tunnel will be finished and covered by early autumn, which will give the green light for work to start on remodelling the Alameda.
Work started on the pedestrianisation of the Alameda in June this year. It’s expected to take about 14 months so we’re looking at mid-2019 before the new-look Alameda is in place. However, we think the wait will be worth it!
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The video below shows an artist’s impression of what the new Alameda will look like when work is complete.
(Photo and video credits: Opinión de Málaga)