An operator modifies the circulation of vehicles to widen the sidewalks and ensure social distancing on pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain, May 19, 2020. The city of Barcelona is adapting its main avenues and streets to meet the requirements for people's mobility in Spain's government de-escalation plan. (Barcelona City Hall/Handout via Xinhua)
BARCELONA, Spain, May 19 (Xinhua) -- The city of Barcelona is adapting its main avenues and streets to meet the requirements for people's mobility in Spain's government de-escalation plan.
As one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Spain has been under a strict lockdown since March 14. But restrictions across regions have been gradually eased starting from early May.
Even though Barcelona and its metropolitan areas have not yet progressed from "Phase 0" to "Phase 1" of government's four-phase plan, the City Council is already adapting its roads for all phases and the post-pandemic new normality.
"We are accelerating and intensifying initiatives that will allow us to adapt to all the phases of the de-escalation plan to allow us to recuperate our mobility in a safe and sustainable manner," said Janet Sanz, Barcelona Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility, at a press conference.
The city is broadening pedestrian sidewalks to up to 4,15 meters on each side, enabling people to maintain the social distance to ward off the virus. The city is also creating more bicycle lanes and separate traffic and bus lanes for each direction.
The transformations, which started on Sunday and will be ready in one week, will result in 154,000 square meters of space for people to circulate "safely and healthily," the City Council reported.
The actions to gain public space for pedestrians amid coronavirus also include cutting off traffic on 51 streets and not allowing motorcycles to park on the sidewalks.