Mayor Morales has today signed his contentious avenue plan into law via executive order of the Mayor.
You’ll remember that 100% of his councillors were against the avenue plan that he drew up. Designed by an unqualified friend of his and presented in the dying months of his administration, he has been accused of forgetting about the avenue until now and presenting the fastest plan he could design in order to secure his legacy.
The project was shelved and he has now decided to approve it on his own authority. I understand he has withdrawn the powers of contracting projects from his councillors in order to be able to carry out the project himself.
The fundamental problem is that he’s only got €100,000 to build the whole thing, but wants to pave the whole avenue. So he’s building a pavement from the very top – demolishing the old cortijo just past La Pará – all the way down to the roundabout, on one side only.
The second problem is that Galasa have, according to my calculations, been digging up that avenue on average once every three weeks this summer. And only carrying out basic repairs to leaks, not changing pipes. So they will keep on having to dig in the very same place Morales wants to pour tons of cement and put flagstones on top.
And the third problem is that he doesn’t own all the land to build his pavement on. So he’s going to negotiate with the land-owners to try to get them to donate a few metres here and there in exchange for not having a wall built outside their homes. Otherwise, if you look at the plan he’s presented, you’ll notice the pavement doesn’t join up in a straight line. It zig-zags around to avoid patches of private land that Turre doesn’t have the cash to expropriate. You couldn’t walk on this pavement as it is presented, it’s a project designed to be adapted on the fly as it’s built.
When Morales took this plan to his ruling council, everyone voted against the plan. In a fit of fury, you’ll remember he split from the only other councillor on his team. In essence, isolating himself. A plea to consider alternate plans – such as installing decorative railings in the worst places to separate pedestrians and vehicles, better zebra crossings or even innovative redesigns of the main road in order to slow down traffic – were ignored outright.
My personal idea would be along the lines of sharing traffic and pedestrians, such as some of these innovative plans you get in northern Europe. But nobody asked me.
It’s worth pointing out that Maria Luisa, the other councillor in his team, had managed to get a retired town planner from Madrid to volunteer his services to Turre. This man was very good indeed – he’s planned and executed one of the largest avenue building projects in Madrid and is an acknowledged expert in his field. The offer was ignored, I understand.
It’s a sad fact that if this plan goes ahead, it’ll be another €100,000 wasted and another lost opportunity. The money doesn’t vanish if the project is delayed, it’s been promised by the provincial council and will tick over to next year.
If Morales was going to be in charge of the project, it might be worth considering (if we reject the more blue sky thinking projects I mentioned above). But he won’t be. It’ll be handed over to councillors who are against the project as it stands and have their own ideas. Thus ensuring a mess. But hey, that’s Turre.
Here’s the pdf of the plan (requires Adobe Acrobat).