The island of Tenerife is saturated with people and cars. This has been stated by the engineer of Roads, Canals and Ports Rufino García, who has issued a warning about this circumstance on the island and has called for reflection.
In a cycle on mobility, transport and decarbonisation organized by the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Tenerife, in collaboration with the Betancourt y Molina Canarian Cultural Foundation, he stressed that there are 1,500 kilometers of roads on the island and more than half a million of passenger cars. “If he gave us all one day to go out at the same time, we would be in the perfect traffic jam”, has warned this expert, who has also warned about the danger posed by an excessive growth in territory.
He stressed that in Tenerife the population density “only of residents” is 451 inhabitants per square kilometer, and if tourists are included, it exceeds 500. But if it is also taken into account that 45% of the island territory is protected , the population density in the 55% “useful land” is close to 1,000 inhabitants per kilometer.
Hence, it invites us to “stop to think and reflect in order to plan, program and execute with objective criteria not only the island we want, but the one we can”.
Rufino García has given the example of Mallorca, where, with a rate of 244 residents per square kilometer, this issue has been debated “for a long time”. Japan, considered one of the most populous countries in the world, has 334 residents per square kilometer.
Regarding mobility infrastructures, this expert recalled that the Tenerife Island Planning Plan (PIOT), approved more than 10 years ago, proposes a structured and hierarchical road network on three levels.
The basic level of high capacity, known as the Insular Ring, is the network that must guarantee intercity travel.
“However, this ring has not closed and, consequently, it is not in a position to assume the functions assigned to it by the Plan,” he asserted.
To close the Insular Ring, the bypass of the Metropolitan Area, the Los Realejos-Icod section and, in the South, the tourist city variant are still pending, while the Santiago del Teide-El Tanque section is being executed.
In addition, he explained that the route from La Florida, in La Guancha, to El Tanque cannot be considered a high-capacity road, because it only has two lanes and the same occurs from the Erques ravine, in Adeje, to Santiago del Teide, and the branch of Fonsalía.
He has detailed that the PIOT also foresees the second-level regional networks, which, in general, correspond to the old roads of the island in midlands, and many others of new layout that have never seen the light of day.
The model that the PIOT planned, he explained, also proposed many other questions to improve mobility, then “the recipe was made.” The problem is that this “never made it to the pharmacy, that is, it did not go out of someone’s drawer.”
According to García, one of the problems of mobility on the island is that “there is a lack of a single authority that coherently manages mobility at the island level, because, if it is intended to order it and a mayor says that he lets everyone park on the street and on the sidewalks, there is no way to do it. ”
On this matter, he stated that parking management is one of the basic tools to deal with the problem.
García recalled that, at the time, a document was made for the South port-airport logistics platform, which provided for up to three link alternatives for the Reina Sofía, but was annulled by the Supreme Court.
However, he has emphasized that the airport, which is “a strategic entity”, has only one link with the TF-1, so it “runs the risk of being cut off.”
He has also cited the case of the project for the southern tourist city bypass, which was approved in the Canary Islands Infrastructure Master Plan in April 1999, and “not a single line has been made.”
The same occurs with the third lane of the TF-1 between San Isidro-Las Américas, which has had the layout project approved since 2009 and still lacks a construction project.
He also pointed out that the metropolitan area’s road system, which includes “absolutely everything that needs to be done”, was approved by the Cabildo in 2006, but, at one point, someone said “I don’t like it now” and stopped .
He has focused on the fact that there are two sections of the roads in Tenerife that support more than 100,000 vehicles a day. One is the Metropolitan Area and the other is the area of the South Tourist City. This means that an average of 130,000 people circulate there every day. “If we managed to get two passengers to travel in each car, the number of vehicles would be 65,000, a figure that would be manageable. Only with that fact would we reduce the demand for motorized mobility by 35%,” he assured.