The figures haven’t been published yet but Ibiza has probably just experienced the busiest May on recent record. The days of a quiet start to the season building up gently to peak season madness is a distant memory as bars, restaurants and walkways have been packed for weeks.
Whilst the politicians slap themselves on the back for doing very little (except be in a favourable geographic position) and Ibiza businesses celebrate a bumper year (many by increasing prices) there’s a big elephant in the corner of the room with 4 wheels and an exhaust.
With people comes the need for transport and with transport comes problems that the White Isle can’t seem to reconcile. The traffic jams that we’re used to seeing in August are now prevalent in April and May. Car parks are already full and Ibiza public transport isn’t exactly the best.
Residents cars plus hire cars have seen the island transformed into one big traffic jam which is only going to get worse without any action. With the proliferation of cars comes the added problem of parking. San Antonio’s parking is already at breaking point with the removal of the blue zone and no replacement plan put in place.
A local environmentalist told me: “I’ve been here 48 years now and am astounded by the stupidity and greed in the development. I kept thinking they will get it soon, but no. I’ve seen the traffic situation spiral out of control first hand. It was completely avoidable with a little foresight, open mindedness, humility and planning”.
The recent implementation of parking restrictions at various beaches has been welcomed by many but without detailed information this has also led to chaos for some tourists unaware of the new rules. A good idea in principle can lead to big problems if not implemented correctly.
In a public meeting Pepa Mari, the island councillor responsible for mobility, told me personally that there are no plans to cap the amount of cars on the island. Surely that position is unsustainable given the size of the island and its growth rate?
So while environmentalists ask for radical changes the population continues to grow and the car hire companies bring over even more cars to supply the demand it’s a foregone conclusion that the driving/parking situation will only become more difficult unless some stark changes are made.
The island politicians though appear to prefer to hide behind the European legislators handbook instead of confronting the challenge head on with forward planning and the inevitable unpopular solutions. Along with affordable housing this is Ibiza’s biggest challenge today.
Limit number of vehicles on the island
Build no more unsightly super highways
Limit rental cars
Force rental car companies to pay their road taxes in Ibiza
Strong incentive/obligation to promote electric/hybrid transport charged with solar panels.
Better education/awareness of our individual and collective contribution of green house gasses and taking personal responsibility
Improved public transport system
A safe, interconnected bike lane system
Increased taxation for polluters