Wheelchair friendly and accessible
Like most modern councils Palma is committed to making life as easy as possible for those with limited mobility and the disabled. One area of the city where accessibility is somewhat lacking is the route between La Rambla and the Plaza Mayor.
La Rambla is a long rectangular plaza which has long been home to the city's flower sellers and recently has also housed the chairs and tables of the terraces of the bars, cafes and restaurants which line the perimeter of the square. Meanwhile the Plaza Mayor just metres from La Rambla as the crow flies is your archetypal Spanish Plaza, cloistered, bounded by apartment buildings housing grand cafes and shops, and a hive of activity with street performers and occasional markets.
The problem is that La Rambla and the Plaza Mayor are on two very different levels linked by lots of steps and a scenic lift that frequently breaks down or suffers vandalism. The only alternative for wheelchair users and so on is a long route through the city.
The council's Infrastructure and Accessibility department have come up with the idea of installing what they call a mechanical ramp, or to give it its technical name, a travellator. The type of moving walkway that you see in airports or shopping centres, and like those in supermarkets which grip the shopping trolley wheels, this one would be wheelchair friendly!
The estimated cost will be from €300,000 to €400,000 so it's a big, but worthwhile, investment for the future. And the future it will be, as the council predict that by the time every interested party has been consulted to decide on the travellator's location – a site where it doesn't spoil the landscape and respects its surroundings – it will be 2019!