In 2018 there will be some traffic restrictions in Madrid over Christmas, as has happened in the last two years. The capital’s mayoress, Manuela Carmena, hopes to avoid the long traffic jams along the main access roads to the centre. So, priority will be given to pedestrians, who will have 5400 m² more space to get around in the dates 5th December to 7th January. The commitment to public transport will be another constant and there will be restrictions for trucks.
Of course, the measures taken by the Madrid City Council will not be every day. There will be exceptions on the 4th, from the 11th to the 14th and from the 18th to the 21st December. So, the cars of non-residents to the capital will have restricted access to Gran Vía streets Atocha and Mayor, and Puerta del Sol on the following dates and times:
From the 5th to the 10th and from the 15th to the 17th December and from the 22nd December to the 7th January 2019, if you are visiting the capital with your vehicle you will not be able to access by road. This will happen from 5pm on the first day until 10pm on the last day in each of the scheduled periods. So, you will have to choose the metro, bus or park your car in the zones before these main points and walk to the centre.
As well as these restrictions, on the streets Preciados and Carmen, that are one-way, the times for pedestrians will start from 5.30pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
These measures are taken in order to promote safety and ease pedestrian traffic, with the corresponding extension of footpaths and congestion prevention.
On the popular Gran Vía in Madrid, specifically one of its three lanes, will be closed to traffic and will be open completely to pedestrians. Also, in the other lanes there will be a speed limit of 30 kilometres an hour for all vehicles.
Of course, the Madrid city council has also decided to repeat the success of the barriers that were installed last year for safety purposes. Instead of the traditional metal fences, they have now opted for concrete barriers decorated with plants. Each weigh between 700 and 800 kilos.
Unless you are a resident in Madrid and go to a garage or underground car park, or drive an electric car, bike, motorbike or with a person with reduced mobility (properly indicated on the parking card), the restrictions will be on the following streets and roads:
Gran Vía (from Plaza de España until Calle Alcalá), Calle Atocha (from Glorieta de Carlos V until Plaza de la Provincia) and Calle Mayor (both ways from Bailén to Puerta del Sol).
24 hour restrictions may also be put in place when there is substantial traffic congestion across the whole stretch covering the streets Segovia, Ronda de Atocha, Ronda de Valencia and Ronda de Toledo. Also, in Gran Vía de San Francisco and Plaza de España.
On the other hand, and also for safety purposes, trucks of more than 3500 kilograms will have restricted access along Gran Vía between 11am and 11pm, from the 1st December to the 7th January. During practically the whole day, goods transportation (loading and unloading) or similar will not be allowed except for outside of these times.
However, for other restricted streets, loading and unloading of trucks can take place from 8am until 1pm. It will also be allowed until 3pm if they are low-emission vehicles. Postal deliveries will not be subject to these times.
Another measure which will tighten in the Christmas period will be the permanent parking of motorbikes on the pavements of Gran Vía, prohibited by law and that will result in fines of up to 90 euros.
At Christmas, in order to be able to travel around the centre of Madrid, public transport is a good option as it will not have any restrictions or interruptions. You can use the metro, bus, taxi, vehicle with a driver with prior booking, bikes (including the BiciMad service within the M-30), electrical scooters or also transport offered by companies who support electric power.
The mayoress will announce the reinforcement of up to 32 bus lines in order to ease transport along Gran Vía and the surroundings. The metro will also increase its service on weekends on the central lines, 1 to 5, and also the trains will have double capacity through the station Sol.
With all these options you can go shopping and enjoy the hotels and entertainment in all the central areas with complete freedom. Leaving the car at home will save on traffic jams and having to spend more time travelling.
The greatest safety measures with a large police presence in the busiest spots will also allow you to walk around with peace of mind during this festive period, where the crowds of people are a seasonal phenomenon.