Pontevedra may not be a paradise. But the truth is that the city has been way over 2,000 days, longer than six years, without having to mourn a fatal victim due to traffic accidents. And it is also true that while Galicia is on the verge of demographic suicide, in Pontevedra there have been more births than deaths for the past 9 years. And at the UN, and in Dubai, Florence, Brussels, Beijing or Hong Kong, the city of Pontevedra has received awards for its urban model. Since 2005, Daniel Macenlle Díaz (Moaña, 1955), is the head of the Local Police. She believes that the commitment to pedestrian mobility has made “people feel even more proud of being pontevedresa”.
-There has not been a fatality in the city for six years regarding traffic accidents. Is it evidence that the model is well worth it?
-Undoubtedly, there is plenty of evidence. In 1999 the process of urban reform began, and since then the number of deaths and injuries has been falling every year. Our idea focuses on two key traffic issues: Volume Reduction and Calming. Casualties and mortality have a lot to do with traffic speeding, so we act on that, with legislative and physical measures which prevent drivers from committing offenses. And so far, it has worked.
-What other figures justify the commitment to a new model of a city that has forged this reputation for Pontevedra?
-The number of accidents since then has remained constant, with about 800 per year, but its severity has been greatly reduced. As we have already mentioned, there have been no deaths since 2011. But in addition to this, between 1999 and 2008, when the reform was still starting, there were 486 serious injuries traffic related. Between 2008 and 2016, only 113.
-What do you repeat most when you tell your experience to the world?
They get surprised. They ask: ‘But this can this really be done?’ What worries them most is whether we had a lot of resilience at the beginning and how smoothly we managed it.