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Madrid's Big Plan to Swear Off Cars

The city's new master plan lays out a sharp turn back toward a pedestrian- and bike-friendly city.
relates to Madrid's Big Plan to Swear Off Cars

Trees, bikes, and walking are in. Cars, historical protection, and new apartments are out. This is the gist of a new plan Madrid has hatched to help it catch up with its European neighbors. The General Urban Plan is a massive, doorstep-sized blueprint created by the city government about every 15 years. This latest iteration arrived just as crisis-hit Madrid badly needs an about-turn to put it back on track. 

Happily, much of the plan looks great – it'll transform much of a car-snarled city center into a leafy pedestrian's dream. Still, it's understandable if some locals tend towards skepticism. Madrid's last General Urban Plan, launched back in 1997, turned out to be a dud, packed with false predictions that have dogged the city for years. Forged in the heady years of Spain's property bubble, Madrid's last plan predicted that the city's population would mushroom.