Barcelona may be an eminently walkable city, but it is also choked by traffic, with car horns and exhaust fumes a constant companion to pedestrians in many neighbourhoods. Hemmed in by the sea and mountains, with 1.6 million inhabitants, the Catalan capital is the third densest city in Europe after Paris and Athens. And, with so many cars on its streets, it consistently fails to meet EU-established air quality standards. Now, with several studies showing that air pollution alone causes 3,500 premature deaths a year in Barcelona's metropolitan area, the city council has decided to act.
In September 2016, in an effort to free up city streets and combat excessive noise levels, Barcelona began an ambitious plan to create 'superblocks'. The priority in these small urban villages is on pedestrian areas, plazas and gardens. Cars are allowed to drive the perimeter, but the streets are not permitted to be used as throughfares. Public and delivery vehicles and local residents are allowed to enter and cross superblocks, but their speed is limited to 10 km per hour and drivers are forced to turn at each internal junction.
More information: Barcelona Metropolitan Magazine