Francesc Narváez, the councillor for mobility revealed yesterday that August 2009 will see more public work projects undertaken than in the year of the 1992 Olympics, (article in Castilian, El Periodical). There are currently 310 projects being worked on and more will be started in August when the traffic falls by 25% and the use of public transport falls by about 40%. The work projects include the construction of the AVE passageway, the construction of metro line 9 and the work on the metro lines 2, 5 and 11. They are also expecting to pave 4 times the amount of streets than in the previous year. The council also predicted the completion of 60 projects by the end of the summer; however not all were pleased with the predicted level of work - Antoni Vives, a member of CiU, said yesterday in El Periodical that the summer work plan "is a further demonstration of the lack of planning of the municipality" and when on to complain that there are people "who believes that Barcelona closes in August. Vives also added that the city "has a serious maintenance problem."
One year on from banning tourist shops opening in the Ciutat Vella area of the city and it appears that the ban is being ignored with two new shops opening in the last couple of weeks (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The municipal ban was put in place in order to curb the emergence of any more shops selling t-shirts, fans and other souvenir items in the historic area already flooded with such stores, but according to sources shops are flouting the law. Working under licences that only allow the shops to sell fashion, sports and craft items it appears they are in actual fact selling mainly souvenir items. The legislation states that no shop can have more than 20% of its total product as souvenirs. The Associació d "Friends, i Comerciants Veins La Rambla have defended their actions and have lodged complaints about these new stores but the CiU, who have denounced the proliferation of these new shops on many occasions, have blamed the problem on not having enough inspectors.
The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and the CSIC have constructed and launced Obsea, the first Spanish underwater lab situated three miles off the cost of Vilanova i la Geltrú (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The aim of the project is to measure the health of the Mediterranean, recording parameters such as the quality of the water, the amount of CO2 present, volcanic eruptions, the temperature and the amount of salt present. The information will serve to evaluate the effects of climate change, the health of the sea and to predict tsunamis. So far the most common way to evalutate the condition of the sea is with buoys but Juanjo Dañobeitia, the head of the CSIC division of the project said "The problem is that they have to change the batteries every so often and someone has to pick up the disks with the data recorded". After two months of tests the project is now up and running, and although it is primarily run by the CSIC and the UPC, any scientist can log onto the website and collect data - also anyone interested in finding out what happens 20 metres below sea level can log on to the website and find out - www.obsea.es. The plans for the project is that eventually it will reach 3000 metres deep and connect with similar platforms already distributed throughout the Mediterranean.