This space will be made more pedestrian-friendly and its functionality will be modified in favor of a city open to the sea.
The redevelopment project of Avenida de España in Estepona, which currently crosses the city from east to west along the coastal strip, will not only gain this space for pedestrians, but also completely change its aesthetics and its functionality. The planned actions will particularly affect the section between the Avenida Carlos I roundabout and Calle Terraza, where the entire surface (5,286 square meters) will be demolished and a wide pedestrian boulevard will be built in its place, surrounded large planters.
The pedestrianization of the main artery of the municipality – part of the old N-340 – foresees the displacement of the current loading and unloading areas, as well as the taxi rank – which will be moved to the eastern part of the avenue – and will maintain road access to existing car parks.
This initiative, a pioneer on the Costa del Sol, aims to make Estepona “a modern city open to the sea” and to place it “at the forefront of sustainable cities, which are committed to the quality of life, the well-being of citizens, the environment and a wide space for pedestrians”, according to the town hall, and to make it “a modern city open to the sea”.
Although the sidewalk is designed for pedestrian traffic, a two-meter-wide double cycle lane will be provided and road traffic will be allowed for emergency vehicles (ambulances, firefighters, etc.) at specific times. Regarding paving, particular care has been taken to remove architectural barriers to promote an inclusive city, according to the council. It should be noted that the cycle lane will maintain the aesthetics and uniformity of the pavement and will not constitute an obstacle for those circulating along the promenade, since it will be delimited by stainless steel pins.
Large flower boxes and pedestrian fountains
Gardening and landscaping also play an important role in this project, which will respect and protect all the existing trees, integrating them into the new planters, according to the municipal government, which will be enriched with other species “that will add more great landscape value in the surroundings”, such as palm trees, palmettos, pomegranates, mulberries, chorisias and holm oaks. A border about one meter wide around the perimeter, made up of perennials and ground covers, as well as shrub species placed in the central part of the planter, will complete each of the new beds. In order to give them a more natural look, soft mounds will be created in the planter itself.
Arranged like small green islands, the placement of the planters is not accidental and aims to recreate the paths that form spontaneously in nature. Their organic design will mark the circuits of movement and give the space the fluidity of natural environments. Thus, by leaving a free space between the different parterres, the transverse passage between the urban center – with its economic, commercial and social activity – and the sea – with all its tourist attractions – will be facilitated, with the aim of facilitating transit between the city and the sea and to revitalize these enclaves of the municipality.
The chapter on green spaces ends with artificial lighting, an increasingly common design tool in landscaping, which will be used to create and accentuate silhouettes, give perspective and enhance the three-dimensional effect in these last.
Once redesigned, Avenida de España will also have three passable fountains and corresponding street furniture, which will be distributed evenly throughout the avenue.
Alternative mobility and parking
Regarding the alternative to car traffic, the City Council explained that in the last decade “an important effort has been made to improve urban mobility” and highlighted that among “the main actions carried out in a good figure is the creation of the northern ring road, a major road infrastructure that connects the city and connects the city center from the east to the northern area of the fairground-Auditorium-Athletics stadium and its connection with the A7”.
The sustainable and pedestrian-friendly city model that the government of Estepona has opted for includes the creation of a network of low-cost car parks (1 euro per day) that offers parking spaces both in the heart of the city, Plaza Antonia Guerrero, as well as on the outskirts of the historic center, Avenida San Lorenzo and around the athletics stadium, to which will be added those under construction in the central Plaza del Ajedrez and in the new town hall.
Complementary strategic projects
The future remodeling of a second section of Avenida de España – the section between the Avenida Juan Carlos I roundabout and Calle Delfín – will complete the project for this road.
These initiatives are also complemented by another ongoing “strategic project” for Estepona: the Balcón al Mediterráneo, which bears the imprint of the award-winning urban planner Salvador Moreno Peralta and with which the city’s cultural and leisure services will be extended, a new “tourist emblem” will be created for the municipality and another public space open to pedestrians will be created with more than 15,000 square meters in a privileged enclave of the city.