Part of Barcelona’s new metro line, line 9, is set to open on Sunday with free tickets for seven hours (article in Castilian, El Periodico). It has taken seven years to build the new line and only a part of it will be inaugurated on Sunday 13th, in Santa Coloma, with works continuing into 2013. There will be an official opening ceremony on Sunday morning and then five stations (Can Zam, Singuerlín, Església Major, Fondo and Can Paixauet) will open to the public from 3pm; the service will run until 10pm with free single tickets on offer for travellers. Test journeys have been made along this portion of the L9 since January and the Barcelona Metropolitan Transport organisation signed off on the installations on November 30th, with a final test done last Friday with 600 people. There will be a reduced timetable on the metro service (6am to 10pm) until the middle of 2010 to allow for ongoing night-time tests on the next sections that are due to be opened (Badalona, Gorg to Bon Pastor, and Sagrera-Meridiana).
The continuing debate about the future of the Avinguda Diagonal has taken a new twist with urban planning experts criticising the proposed union of Barcelona’s tramways along the central city street (article in Catalan, Avui). At the present time, there are two key tram systems in Barcelona, but they cover opposite ends of the Diagonal and there is currently no connection between them. In a debate yesterday on the subject, organised by the Reial Automòbil Club de Catalunya, opposition to the idea of joining the two in an aboveground track was voiced on the basis of the slowness of the tram system, which could have knock-on effects on the speed of traffic travelling along the Diagonal. In addition, the former head architect for Barcelona council, Josep Anton Acebillo, argued that trams are not the solution for today's city, and instead new technology should be developed rather than returning to transport methods from the 19th century.
Residents in the Fort Pienc area of Barcelona, located in the Eixample, have started a protest against the number of illegal street sellers in their neighbourhood (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Following the example of people living in the Raval and Poble Sec, some neighbours have hung signs from their balconies saying ‘Volem un barri digne’ (We want a dignified neighbourhood), because they are fed up with the growing number of people who illegally sell items on the streets; items that are said to be found in rubbish bins and, on occasion, stolen. In the past, such sellers often set themselves up close to the Encants flea market, taking advantage of the crowds heading there to find a bargain. However, pressure to move on from the Guàrdia Urbana in recent months has seen many of them look for new spots to sell their goods, including in Fort Pienc, which has not pleased locals. Yesterday evening, some 70 residents demonstrated their discontent in various streets and managed to cut the central Gran Via for five minutes. They are frustrated that the street vendors block pavements, that they cause disruption when trying to run away from the police and that they leave the areas where they sell their goods dirty and full of rubbish.
Also in the news: New Spanish abortion law passes with only PP voting against motion (El Periodico); Falangist groups call off demonstrations against independence vote (Avui); Disagreement over proposed requirements about films shown in Catalan (Avui)