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Transportation

In Madrid, a Car Ban Proves Stronger Than Partisan Politics

A new mayor vowed to bring vehicles back to the city center. The strong citizen backlash suggests that European cities’ car bans are not, in fact, in peril.
A police traffic officer stops motorists from entering the center of Madrid.
A police traffic officer stops motorists from entering the center of Madrid.Paul Hanna/Reuters

Madrid’s new administration might already be regretting its promise to cancel the city center’s car ban.

When the city’s current center-right/right/extreme-right coalition came to power following May 26 elections, one of its first promises was to scrap the laws that had seen almost all private cars disappear from inner Madrid—not just from side streets, but from major roads, too.