Valencian businesses are outraged: the long-awaited new reconstruction works in the centre of Valencia, at Plaza de la Reina will begin in April, overlapping with work on the Mercado Central area, making access to the city centre nearly impossible…
The pedestrianisation of Plaza de la Reina will proceed after the Court of Contractual Resources (Tribunal de Recursos Contractuales) dismissed the final objections to the proposed reconstruction works. This tender was awarded last summer, but it was stalled in the courts until just recently. Now that this is out of the way, the €8.9m reconstruction will commence, most likely by the middle of April.
The real problem is that a project on the Mercado Central area will begin at the same time. This tender was recently awarded following a lengthy process, and the date of execution coincided with the start of work on Plaza de la Reina. Once initiated, these two reconstructions will paralyse a significant proportion of the old town and force many businesses to close again, some temporarily, for others already ravaged by the Covid restrictions, the closures will be permanent.
The Association of Merchants of the Historic Center attempted to channel its members’ rage by pointing out that these two events should have been coordinated. Many businesses will have to close as a result of each reconstruction. According to the Association, approximately 70 streets and hundreds of businesses are affected. Some businesses will simply have to close, while others will be very hard to access. Many merchants are still suffering the impact of the Estado de Alarma, making survival even more difficult, if not impossible.
Although the City Council has promised that the works will be coordinated in such a way that they will have the least impact on businesses, it is difficult to see this promise being fulfilled. Especially since vehicles entering the old Centre without authorisation will be fined from April onwards.
Due to the closure of both public parking lots, one on Plaza de la Reina and the other on Ciudad de Brujas square, it will be impossible to visit this part of Ciutat Vella by car. Unauthorized vehicles will not be allowed to park on the streets under the new rules. But even if they were, with 70 of the streets being rebuilt, there will be no parking at all anyway.
Many shops in the Mercado Central area closed their doors last year, and those that remain are hoping for a tourist influx in May and better health conditions to ensure their survival. Now there is another serious problem that will threaten the city center’s trade, and it appears to be more dangerous than the others.
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