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Consensus among political groups marks start of draft law on vehicle entry onto island

MEsa treball Llei3This morning at the Formentera Council, a meeting was celebrated by the Junta de Portaveus, a group of spokespersons of the different political organisations on the island. The junta arrived at the unanimous decision to begin drafting a proposal that will go before the Balearic Islands parliament with the objective of waging an entry tax on vehicles coming to Formentera.

Present at the gathering were Jaume Ferrer, president of the Formentera Council, and spokespersons of the political groups with representation in the local administration. The list included Sònia Cardona from Gent per Formentera, José Manuel Alcaraz from Partido Popular, Santi Juan from PSOE and Javi Serra from Grup Independent de Formentera (GUIF).

The junta is a deliberative body of Formentera's political groups, stipulated within the administration's code of regulations, and having the function of adopting positions on general interest issues.

The day's gathering transpired as per the debate that took place at the Consell d'Entitats (council of local organisations), at which juncture it was decided not only that resources would be dedicated to abating the oversaturation of vehicle traffic affecting the island at different points throughout the year, but also that this action would be achieved by means of a tax on vehicle entry. The session served to organise the different tasks that will be necessary in order to bring the proposal before the Balearic Parlament. It will in turn fall within the remit of the parliament to authorise Formentera to administer the vehicle tax.

Biweekly meetings

Meeting attendees agreed on creating a working group composed of the following members: the president of the Formentera Council, one representative from each political party, the transport councillor of the local administration, a representative of the Consell d'Entitats and Council secretary Àngel Navarro, who will act as chief of the group's technical operations.

In addition, the decision was made to permit group members to attend gatherings in the company of secondary advisers and the door was also opened to the use of external consultation if deemed necessary. The meetings will be held once a fortnight. The first gathering of the working group was thus scheduled for 10 March. In consideration of the approaching end of the current legislative session, the political parties agreed that whatever the result of the upcoming May elections, the group would move forward until completion of the proposed work.

Roll-out of regulated parking in La Savina

adhesiu lasavinaAs of this Monday, 2 February, the Formentera Council will begin to roll out the newly-devised system of regulated parking in La Savina. The OAC (or Citizen Information Office), located in Sant Francesc, has already begun to distribute decals which will accredit vehicle-owners with island residency. The Council has indicated that drivers will have at least the entire month of February in order to collect the adhesive stickers.

On this first day of distribution, employees of the information office dispensed the decals to La Savina residents who had come to request them in person. People from other corners of the island were submitted to a simple verification of documentation, ensuring that the papers they had brought were in order. The hope is that employees of the OAC will gradually in this way be familiarised with the procedures and material involved in this relatively new project.

To obtain the decal, drivers are asked to visit the Citizen Information Office in possession of DNI (national ID card) and, if the person requesting the decal is also the owner of the car, vehicle documents. Otherwise, the applicant must present documentation from his insurance company proving that he is also the habitual driver. Workers at information office will check to ensure the applicant is listed on municipal registers ('empadronat') and that the vehicle is registered in Formentera. If these two criteria are met, a decal will be delivered on the spot.

New parking attendants

In addition to the primary changes, the La Savina parking overhaul will be accompanied by another altogether new apparition: parking officers charged with ensuring compliance with the new system. Three parking attendants, chosen from a list of 32 who applied, have already begun informational outreach campaigns and preparation of protocol. New parking metres will be installed across the town in the coming days  and the parking officers will receive special training to prepare for equipment operation. Last Friday, a four-hour training class served to instruct these new employees to correctly address different resident inquiries regarding specifics of the new system.

New system of regulated parking on horizon in La Savina

parquing LaSavina270115This morning, the Formentera Council set out the exact details of the new system of regulated parking agreed upon by the administration and the local group known as the Consell d'Entitats de Formentera ('Council of Entities'). The system will enter into effect next week, with the administration's Citizen Information Office (l'OAC) taking on the task of educating residents about specifics of the programme. The Citizen Information Office will also assume responsibility for distribution of the decals and parking passes that will permit locals – and residents of La Savina – use of certain parking areas with special conditions.

Objectives

Council president Jaume Ferrer explained: “The goal is that by Easter – the first half of April – residents have a clear understanding of 'green' and 'blue parking zones' in La Savina and are able to use them correctly”. Ferrer continued: “I am thrilled to be able to lay out the details of a project that has been such a long time in the making. After long and complicated negotiations with the port authority and a complex navigation through the myriad elements involved, we are finally rolling this out”.

The Formentera Council president expressed his conviction that “the new system [would] be a great improvement to the rotating flow of vehicles in the port” and assured residents that “starting next Monday, parking passes [would] be available based on different user profiles, based on the criteria established by the Council of Entities”.

Users

Two versions of a decal will exist, to be placed and made visible on a driver's windscreen. A blue decal – for Formentera residents – will allow drivers to park in both green and blue zones for a maximum of 24 hours in summer (from May to October) and 72 hours in winter (from November to April). A green decal – exclusively for residents of La Savina – will allow parking in blue zones under the same conditions as for blue decal holders. However, in green zones, green decal holders will be allowed parking for up to 15 days. In both cases, drivers will be required to use a new kind of parking metre: one for which no money is collected. The new parking metres will serve only to determine the exact date and time a driver arrived at his parking spot.

As for the parking passes, there will also exist two different types: one for businesses and one for electric vehicles. “If you have a business in Formentera, you will be given a parking pass – one per establishment and at no cost. These will not need to be affixed permanently, thus allowing a business with multiple company vehicles to use the same pass for its different cars,” explained councillor of transport Alejandra Ferrer. The parking pass will also be made available to businesses not based on Formentera, though at a cost of €50 per month. This is the same price any Formentera-based business must pay if its owners wish to obtain more than one parking pass.

The parking pass for electric vehicles “was something that came up time and time again in the Council of Entities meetings,” explained Ferrer. The goal of the electric vehicle pass being to foment use of environmentally-friendly transportation, its application was inevitably quite simple: “In the blue zones of La Savina, electric vehicles will not pay for parking during the first 24 hours in summer and 72 hours in winter.” Moreover, battery recharge stations will be installed and available at different points across the port town, “meaning that any tourist – resident or not – that drives an electric car will be exempt from payment”.

Limitations

Both Jaume Ferrer and Alejandra Ferrer underscored the fact that “rental cars that have not been rented will not be able to occupy the blue or green parking areas, nor will any vehicle that exceeds the size of a parking space”. Scooters and motorcycles are not included in the new system, but this does not exclude them from regulation – these vehicles must be parked in special 'scooter and motorcycle only' zones. As for loading and unloading zones, outside of established business hours, “these will become either blue or green zones, depending on their location,” explained Alejandra Ferrer. Reduced-mobility vehicles “will be allowed ticketless and unlimited free parking, but must be parked in spaces established to this effect”.

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mobilitat@conselldeformentera.cat

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