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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Local Good News

My neighborhood is undergoing a massive facelift. It is a city project instigating to create jobs during the current economic collapse here in Valencia where we are experiencing incredibly high unemployment—some say as high as 20%. There are a couple of big billboards boasting about the project right next to my apartment building. The billboards were the first thing they began and at first I thought that the billboards represented the entire building project as it took four men a couple of days to put them up. The true project is has been a big mess as they have torn up several streets in Ruzafa. They tear up streets all the time here but on this occasion they are actually making improvements and not just fixing a broken pipe beneath the street.

I have been complaining since I moved to this neighborhood about the narrow sidewalks and the streets littered with cars parked end-to-end often blocking pedestrian crossings. The new project is widening the sidewalks and removing parking from one side of the street on several blocks in Ruzafa. There is also a new bike path being built along one of the neighborhood’s major thoroughfares which was a very hostile street for cyclists. This new initiative is going to make the neighborhood a lot more pedestrian –friendly and should calm the traffic a bit—if that is possible in Valencia. Just where all of those people are going to park now is a bit of a mystery but I don’t drive and I don’t care. Perhaps a few of the drivers will give up and sell their vehicles.

This will make it a lot easier to bike around the neighborhood. With fewer parked vehicles it will be easier to be seen by drivers and to see cars approaching. The new sidewalks will also allow more restaurants to have outdoor seating—always a good thing in my opinion. I applaud any project that takes back what the automobile has robbed from city life and returns to pedestrians.