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What options will Benalmadenses be able to choose from to reshape the Coast?

The remodeling of Benalmádena Costa is a project that all sectors and groups want, but in which it seems that there is no unanimous consensus on what it should consist of. The municipal government defends a comprehensive transformation that would benefit from financing mainly from the Sustainable Urban Development Strategy of Benalmádena (Edusi) for which Benalmádena received a total of 10 million euros in European funds in 2018, which rewards those projects that include innovation in sustainability, mobility or CO2 reduction, excluding the mere remodeling of public roads.

On the works that should be undertaken in this enclave, there are those who strongly oppose the reorganization of road trafficand elimination of the median of palm trees (which would be transplanted), others propose adding bus lanes and services for both directions or who advocate including new mobility lanes and bus only for one direction. There are combinations to bore you, although these three are the ones that have sounded the most in recent months, to which it should be added that each sector also seems to have its own conditions (more parking, shuttle buses, traffic flow, among others). That yes, nobody says out loud that the millions of the Edusi and the funds of the Next Generation EU are returned. At least that is how Ole Benalmádena has been able to verify it, who has asked all the opposition groups and different groups.

After the celebration of sector tables, assemblies and various meetings, the City Council proposes to hold a non-binding citizen consultationto see which city model the Benalmadens preferfor this nerve center of tourism in Benalmádena. And it is that, although at present and once the pilot test has been completed -reduction of lanes in the area-, the City Council assures that it is in a position to begin the works of Antonio Machado, as planned, given the different approaches that have arisen of various groups of neighbors, “it is the intention of this municipal government to submit the execution of the aforementioned remodeling project to popular consultation.”

To this end, apopular consultation is proposed, based on the Citizen Participation Regulation, in which citizens can decide between the three options that have been proposed during the time that the debate has existed. The consultation will be carried out through the telematic channel of the City Council and all benalmadenses of legal age will be able to vote. Before activating it, the proposal will go through the plenary tomorrow for its approval, but between what alternatives will the neighbors be able to choose?

Option 1: Undertake the Antonio Machado Remodeling works included in the Edusi, eliminating the central reservation and including two lanes for private vehicles, one in each direction,a bus lane towards Torremolinos, and a lane for new forms of personal mobility.

To take into account: Edusi financing rewards those projects that include innovation in sustainability, mobility or CO2 reduction, excluding the mere remodeling of public roads. For this reason,there is European funding for this project -10 million + 3 million- which will entail the expansion of spaces for pedestrians and will allow Benalmádena to adapt to the new city standards. All of the above will allow compliance with the sustainable urban development strategy and the items of the Urban Agenda, a necessary condition without which Benalmádena will not be able to access new lines of aid and European funds in the future.

Option 2: Undertake only remodeling and clean-up works, eliminating the central reservation and widening the sidewalks where possible, maintainingtwo lanes for private vehicles, one in each direction, and two bus/taxi lanes, one in each direction.

To consider: There’s no room for lane of new mobility, with which there would be no possibility of access to the financing of the 10 million euros in European funds received, nor to the last grant of 3 million euros from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan in the mobility call. All investments must be carried out with its own means and the City Council would have to seek financing as it cannot cover them with European funds. It could allow them to continue accessing European funds if standards such as the reduction and calming of traffic in urban environments are met.

Option 3: Leave everything as it was beforethe pilot test: two lanes of traffic in each direction and maintenance of the median. It would act with its own means, changing the sidewalks, but maintaining the current appearance of the avenue.

To consider: The improvement in sidewalks without including improvements in mobility or traffic calming are not eligible projects for Europe, therefore the 10 million euros in committed European funds and the last grant of 3 million euros from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan in the mobility call would not be received. As this action does not include any of the green transition strategies launched by Europe,Benalmádena would have difficulties accessing new European funds and the Recovery Plan, with all that this means. On the other hand,there would be no short-term inconveniencesince no work would be undertaken.

The mayor, Víctor Navas, has stated that “we will presumably hold the consultation before the end of May, and it will be telematic in nature, because it cannot be held at the polls since the imminent Andalusian elections would postpone the processing of the necessary permits until January 2023, and we need to know what the citizens’ opinion is as soon as possible in order to assess whether we go ahead with the projects since it is necessary to comply with the deadlines set by the Integrated Sustainable Urban Development Strategy (Edusi)”.

The telematic consultation will remain active for three days, and “we still have to determine the definitive dates to carry out the vote, in which only those registered in the municipality who are oflegal age may participate,” Navas explained.

Regarding the consultation process, he stressed that “of course, it will be carried out with the maximum guarantees, and will be audited by an external company and municipal technicians from the City Council’s IT Department“, confirmed the mayor, who explained that it is the same telematic voting system “that the Madrid City Council uses today”.

For those people who do not have access to a telematic point to vote, Navas has announced that spaces will be set up for them to participate in municipal offices, “which we will detail when the time comes so that no one is left without voting,” said the mayor.

The three options of the consultation will be disseminated by the City Council through the media and social networks for the public’s knowledge, “in a totally neutral way so as not to condition public opinion, and making an effort to achieve the greatest possible participation by neighbors”, Navas stressed.

On the other hand, the mayor lamented “the scorched earth policy of the main opposition party, the PP: today they have not even attended the spokespersons’ meeting in which we wanted to agree with all the political forces on the terms of the citizen consultation ”.

“From the PP they continue without contributing any constructive idea to the debate on the city model for Benalmádena Costa: they have dropped out of the large projects of the municipality, and have made lies their daily speech, as they recently demonstrated again when they affirmed that the collectives companies were against the EDUSI project, when only they had expressed their desire that the works not begin in the middle of summer, but in December”, Navas denounced.

“One more lie from the PP, like when they said we were going to demolish the bullring or that we were going to raise taxes,” he recalled.

Navas stressed that “we are going to continue working as we have always done: facing the citizens, and with the firm intention of continuing to build a better city, and for this we will reach out to all political forces that want to work for and for Benalmádena”.

For his part, the Councilor for Citizen Participation has stressed that in the question that will be taken to the citizen consultation “they have tried to collect, in the three proposals, the whole of the debate that has taken place during this time.”

“The entire consultation process will be carried out with absolute technical and democratic guarantees, with the support of the City Council’s computer specialists and a specialized external company, formulating the various options in an aseptic manner, thus facilitating objective data so that citizens have full freedom of choice”, Centella clarified.

“We want to demand that the corporation as a whole promote and support this proposal because it will be the best guarantee that the results are as faithful as possible to citizen opinion”, Centella declared.

The IU councilor has recalled that it will not be a binding consultation, “but this municipal government will listen and take into account the voice of citizens.”

Evolution of the  Edusi of Benalmáden Costa

The Antonio Machado road and its coastline is one of the main avenues of the city, located in the tourist heart of Benalmádena and where most of the hotels and tourist apartments in the town are located.

Initially known as CN-340, the transformation and adaptation of the road to its new use and environment has been the objective of all municipal corporations, with the intention of creating a commercial ecosystem that complements tourist activity, bets on sustainable mobility and provides protagonism to the pedestrian.

For this reason, on November 17, 2014, by Resolution of the Mayor’s Office, the preliminary planning project for Antonio Machado Avenue was approved, in order to obtain a document that would set the criteria and serve as the basis for the subsequent contracting of the basic projects. and execution necessary for the remodeling of the avenue.

That is why, during 2015, 2016 and 2017, a Strategic Plan was drawn up based on the participation of citizens, groups and social agents that was presented to the central government to obtain European funds that would allow the action to be undertaken.

In 2017, the Benalmádena City Council Plenary unanimously approved the Benalmádena Sustainable Urban Development Strategy (Edusi), and in 2018 Benalmádena received 10 million euros in European funds.

From 2018 to 2021, work has been carried out on the different expressions of interest, studies, specifications and contracts for the start of the works, and in May 2021 a pilot test was launched to calm traffic in the Antonio Machado area, as contemplated by the Edusi strategy.



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