From road to street:
A Pobra do Caramiñal
The AC-305 in A Pobra do Caramiñal is a public space designed around the vehicle, with a predominance of surfaces dedicated to traffic. In addition, the partial implementation of services and other infrastructural elements, following the logic of immediacy and ease of execution, has resulted in the fragmentation of space for people.
The AC-305 in front of the town hall of A Pobra do Caramiñal.
A Pobra do Caramiñal was born in 1840 with the administrative merger of two nuclei of medieval origin: A Pobra de Deán and Caramiñal. This administrative aggregation arises from the conurbation of both settlements due to their respective urban growth and the need to manage the urban continuum as a single one. The nucleus is developed around the fishing and industrial activity, given its strategic location within the coast of the Ría de Arousa. The strong demographic growth that derived from this type of economy caused a rapid urbanization of the agricultural environment adjacent to the traditional core.
The historical urban continuum has undergone variations over the years, while at the same time different growths have been added, including port landfills. All these urban transformations took place without any guiding document, which resulted in chaotic growth governed by strong urban development pressure. In relation to its urbanistic context, the municipality developed without planning until the arrival of the Subsidiary Norms in 1984, a document replaced by the current General Plan of Municipal Ordination of 2007.
Given the location of the nucleus of A Pobra do Caramiñal within the AC-305, closer to Ribeira (8 km) than to Padrón (34.5 km), the supramunicipal relations are established mainly with the nuclei of Ribeira and Boiro (8 km), both of greater entity. The distance, taking as a starting point the center of A Pobra do Caramiñal, is the same for both Boiro and Ribeira by the regional road AC-305, with a total distance of 14 minutes. The travel time to both destinations is similar by the alternative of the Barbanza AG-11 highway.
It should be noted that vehicles traveling on the AC-305 within A Pobra do Caramiñal do not have as their point of origin or destination the center itself. They are, therefore, vehicles that pass through the center without making stops there. Mostly, the route they take is Ribeira-Boiro.
Xunta de Galicia - Conselleria de infraestruturas e mobilidade - Axencia Galega de Infraestruturas
A Pobra do Caramiñal, A Coruña
Team and collaborators
Orthophotography of the nucleus of A Pobra do Caramiñal.
The analysis of the AC-305 section in A Pobra do Caramiñal relies on information gathered from official public data sources, local experts and, above all, field work. This last concept is a fundamental part of the work developed since it complements the available information, sometimes outdated, and provides the analysis with greater precision. Field work is divided into two main groups: manual information gathering and public participation processes.
Manual data collection
Several visits are made for this collection. The first ones have the objective of approaching the place in a generic way, so the environment is toured, both on foot and by car, to identify and experience firsthand the existing problems. Also photographs are taken, at street level and from a bird's eye view, of what is identified as noteworthy and relevant to know and explain the reality of the AC-305 in A Pobra do Caramiñal.
In the subsequent visits, the objective is to map in detail the elements and dynamics that exist in the public space of the chosen section. In addition to the photographs, the entire route of the road is redrawn by hand in order to make an exhaustive and detailed approach of the current state. This work allows us to generate a cartography faithful to reality, as well as to know the state of the buildings and stores.
Updated mapping of public space.
In order to achieve a better approach to the problems of the passage of the AC-305 through A Pobra do Caramiñal, meetings are held with the neighborhood and different local agents. The participatory processes are divided into two main groups:
Cycle of meetings: The purpose of the cycle of meetings is to approach certain local groups and agents to understand the dynamics of A Pobra do Caramiñal. In this way, very useful information is gathered about the use that people make of the studied section and the day-to-day problems. This participatory process helps to propose a proposal better focused on the needs of the town and its inhabitants.
Participation event open to the general public: This type of event seeks to encourage debate with the local population to incorporate subjective criteria on the safety of the road and to reflect on the heritage, urban and identity values of the environment. This event allows reflection on the section in question, through the participation of various local personalities. A journey through the memory and identity of the street was made, highlighting its characteristic values and identifying its needs.
The contents of the event consist of an introduction by Francisco Menéndez, Director Xeral da Axencia Galega de Infraestruturas followed by a presentation by the Fundación RIA, which describes the context of the study and the principles on which it is based. Through photographs and videos, some of the conflicts identified in the AC-305 as it passes through A Pobra do Caramiñal are shown. After the presentations, a debate is opened with the attendees on morbidity and public space in the region, the municipality and the town itself.
In order to systematically collect the considerations of the audience of the event, a survey was distributed during the round of debate. Through a series of multi-answer questions, an approach was made to the characteristics of the attendees, such as age and place of residence, and their use and perception of the AC-305 as it passes through A Pobra do Caramiñal. Several conclusions were drawn from the survey that will be taken into consideration for the elaboration of a document. It is highlighted that the vast majority of the participants move along the section studied on foot, for various reasons, among which are shopping and commuting to work.
Information and discussion day open to the public in A Pobra do Caramiñal.
With the information gathered in the field visits, analytical mapping is generated for each of the most relevant issues in A Pobra do Caramiñal to know the reality of this and thus, subsequently, to make the proposal that best suits the real context and the main needs of the section. We map the state of the building, first floor uses, mobility generating points, green infrastructure, urban furniture, waste, lighting, supply elements in the public space, signage, pedestrian areas, road areas, parking areas, road access, accessibility and continuous routes, protection elements, accident rate, the weekly market and public transport; all of them accompanied by images and diagrams that accompany the explanation of each analysis.
As an example of these analytical plans, the image on the right shows the plan referring to mobility generating points. Mobility generating points have been considered as those facilities or premises that attract population on a daily basis; differentiating them according to whether the mobility generated is pedestrian or vehicular and whether they are private or public.
Private points that generate vehicular mobility: Facilities with a public vocation but privately managed, such as mortuaries, retirement homes, ports and day care centers. The mobility generated is considered road mobility because they attract population from outside the center and because they have parking areas in their vicinity.
Public points that generate vehicular mobility: Large cultural, commercial and educational facilities and the beach. They have parking areas nearby, which facilitate and encourage their arrival by private vehicle.
Private points that generate pedestrian mobility: Commercial premises that have a daily flow of people, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, tobacconists and cafeterias. They are considered pedestrian areas because of their size, location and because they do not have parking areas nearby.
Public points that generate pedestrian mobility: Facilities that, due to their size and location, encourage pedestrian access, or those that serve the majority of the population of the center.
For this plan we have taken into account the facilities with public vocation throughout the core, since they have a strong attraction of population and can affect the dynamics of mobility of the AC-305, especially at intersections. However, private commercial establishments have only been identified in the section of the AC-305, specific to the study area.
The starting point in the urban section of A Pobra do Caramiñal is similar to other cases of the AC-305 as it passes through the nuclei of the coastal settlements: a public space designed around the vehicle in which the surfaces dedicated to road traffic predominate. In addition, the punctual implementation of services and other infrastructural elements, following the logic of immediacy and ease of execution, has resulted in the fragmentation of space for people.
The project proposes to recover the logics by which to design the free space between facades when it crosses an urban nucleus (a street or a square). The objective is to reclaim the space for people and its character as a slow road, silencing the infrastructure to give back the protagonism to the population that inhabits it.
Based on the analysis, a series of intervention strategies are established that seek to take advantage of local potentials and combat existing deficiencies in the section studied. In general terms, the aim is to guarantee the safety of road users and to reinforce the urban identity of the center, as well as to recover the residential and business attractiveness by giving priority to pedestrians and promoting non-motorized internal displacements. To this end, several lines of action are proposed, such as: guaranteeing the safety of pedestrians and drivers, strengthening the slow lane character, prioritizing pedestrian mobility and carrying out an integral design of the street.
The proposal proposes changes based on the reduction of road space, study and modification of the internal circulation as well as the affected routes, improvement of accessibility and continuity of public space, introduction of green infrastructure, reinforcement of transversality, location of alternative parking areas, reorganization of bus stops, integration of urban services such as lighting, waste, burial and registers, reduction of maximum speed in urban section. In addition, complementary plans were made, outside the scope of the AC-305, but with great importance for the internal functioning of the site, such as a new system of public space and a new distribution for the weekly market.
The seafront of A Pobra do Caramiñal before the creation of the landfill.
Reduction of road space
The road space reduction strategy has two objectives: to adapt the road to the new reduced speed and to increase the pedestrian surface to improve the quality of public space. As far as the road space reduction strategy is concerned, the AC-305 in A Pobra do Caramiñal presents two very specific realities for which different measures are established. One of them covers the port area, where the road section is very generous, while the other encompasses the traditional fabric and fragmented growths, whose section is very fair.
As a general criterion, all lane widths are reduced to 3m, thus providing more space for pedestrians. However, the number of lanes is also reduced in specific sections. One lane is eliminated and one of the traffic directions where the lane width reduction is not sufficient to provide an accessible public space for pedestrian mobility is reduced from two to one traffic lane. In another section, where there are three lanes that act as an obstacle to pedestrian crossing, one of the two lanes that exist for the same direction of traffic is eliminated, acting as a barrier between the two sides.
Improved accessibility and continuity of public space
This strategy aims to design a public space that caters to the needs of all people, regardless of their condition, and to encourage their autonomous use and enjoyment of it. In this way, citizens can develop their daily lives in public space as comfortably as possible. The measure taken within the strategy, based on the implementation of a single continuous platform, will be common throughout the stretch. This decision is due to the fact that the three sectors; port area, traditional fabric and fragmented growths, are currently unrelated to each other. The single platform allows, in short, to sew the urban trinomial of A Pobra do Caramiñal, helping to perceive the continuity of public space. In addition, to improve accessibility, it is necessary to eliminate architectural barriers as far as possible and design continuous, safe and adapted routes. In this sense, improving the width of the sidewalk, by reducing the road space and implementing a single continuous platform, is essential so that there are no conflicts between the elements of public space and its users.
Strategy for the reduction of road space in sections from 3 to 2 lanes of traffic on a single platform.
Introduction of green infrastructure
The recovery of the infrastructure in this section of the AC-305 aims to generate a more domestic and pleasant space, as well as to bring nature closer to the built environment and improve the quality of the public space.
In the proposal for the humanization of the AC-305 in A Pobra do Caramiñal, the green infrastructure will be implemented in three different ways, depending on the sector. This is due to the fact that different problems and needs have been identified in each of them. However, all of them are linked to the recovery of the identity of the nucleus and to the improvement of the quality of the public space.
Reinforcement of transversality
The unique traditional urban fabric of A Pobra do Caramiñal, consisting of a large number of small cross streets that converge in the AC-305 itself, creates the need for transversality in a large number of points along the stretch. The single continuous platform along the entire route, in addition to helping in the strategy of improving accessibility and continuity of public space, allows to reinforce the myriad of transversalities and encourage continuous, safe and multidirectional walking routes. However, certain transversalities have been identified as more important than others, so it is necessary to establish a hierarchy and make it evident in the proposal. A total of five transversalities have been highlighted, including, among others, open spaces such as squares and parks and municipal facilities.
Location of alternative parking areas
The general approach of the proposal is to prioritize pedestrian mobility over vehicular mobility, as it is more democratic and respectful of the environment. However, it is necessary to consider certain parking areas to ensure the proper functioning of the core.
Some of these areas are intended for the parking of private vehicles, as far as possible under express parking arrangements to ensure the movement of vehicles and the freeing up of parking spaces.
Other areas provided for parking are planned as loading and unloading zones, as a deficiency in this aspect has been identified. In order to provide coverage to businesses, the loading and unloading points are distributed equidistantly along the entire stretch.
Increased accessibility to public transportation
A reorganization of the bus stops is proposed to improve the walking distance between them. The same number of bus stops will be maintained, but placed in different locations with a similar distance between them, each of the sectors studied will have a stop, which means that the user will find one no more than four minutes walk away. These stops will be located in areas close to parking lots, thus offering the possibility of becoming an interchange point between private vehicle/bicycle and bus, favoring the use of public transport. In addition, the different types of positioning of the stops within the road have been studied, depending on the free width of passage and the environment in which they are located.
Integration of urban services
In this strategy, it is proposed to eliminate all facade lighting and replace it with floor lighting. In addition, the aim is to homogenize them in terms of design and location. They will be located at a minimum distance to ensure good visibility, both for pedestrians and vehicles. As for their design, they may be single or double, depending on the area in which they are located. For areas where the road width is wider and there is a greater traffic of vehicles and pedestrians, the luminaires are double. The lowest point of light is between 4.5 meters and 6 meters, while the highest point of light is at approximately 8.5 meters. Single luminaires are used in areas where there is hardly any vehicular traffic or where the human scale is to be emphasized, while double luminaires are placed in wider areas with more vehicular traffic.
As for waste, these will be distributed in such a way as to cover the entire neighborhood near the AC-305. It is intended to locate in a radius of less than 4 minutes spaces for waste, with a container of each type. These waste collection points must be integrated in terms of design with the rest of the proposal.
The aim is to rationalize, bury and integrate the different elements that make up the public space, from the power lines to the manholes. This allows a liberation and homogenization of the exterior space.
On Wednesdays there is a market day in A Pobra do Caramiñal, this implies that the dynamics of normal operation varies, as many streets and spaces become occupied. A reformulation of the position of the market is proposed, a previous approach, since a transformation of this character needs a more detailed study. In this case, the big difference with respect to the current state is that Anxo Rei Ballesteros Street continues to maintain its traffic, as it is a main alternative to the AC-305. This remarkable change implies that the market will move to the inner streets of the urban fabric, even expanding into the Valle-Inclán gardens. If more space is needed, assuming a possible growth, the market will be able to settle and occupy the Plaza Mayor. With these modifications it is intended that the market is more linked to Pobra, that it is organized around the buildings and that the road traffic is kept as far as possible, to avoid complications. In a more profound way the stalls will be organized among themselves as they do today, alternating varied stalls such as textiles with stalls dedicated to food, so that the flow of people is spread throughout the market and not concentrated exclusively in a single area.
Strategy to reinforce cross-cutting issues.
The informative document of the proposal, prepared by the Fundación RIA, exposes the methodology used and the proposals for intervention in the public space designed for A Pobra do Caramiñal.