You will soon be able to use a Park and Ride service in Valencia, but for now, only if you are traveling from the northwest…
Valencia may soon offer a “park and ride” service. The Department of Tourism and Internationalization, in collaboration with the Department of Sustainable Mobility, has proposed converting the Conference Center’s (Palacio de Congresos) 600-space garage into a carpark for vehicles entering Valencia from the northwest. From this point forward, a public transportation shuttle service will be established, connecting with the Porta de la Mar transportation interchange.
The Conference Center, located on Avinguda de les Corts Valencianes, is one of Valencia’s most recognisable newer buildings. It was designed by British architect Norman Foster and opened in 1998 as a cutting-edge venue for the 21st century. And it drew a lot of attention and praise: the International Association of Conference Centers named it the World’s Best Convention Center in 2010 and 2018.
It was lavishly built, with three massive conference rooms, nine committee rooms, and a 1,077 square metre exhibition hall. The roof was covered with 8,200 square metres of photovoltaic sheets, and its massive outdoor area (this is Valencia, after all) measured approximately 7,000 square metres. There was also a large parking lot with 600 spaces.
But it turned out that the parking was seriously underused. It is difficult to tell whether this was a mistake in the original design, or simply a sign of changing attitudes to transport. The type of events held at the Palacio de Congresos evolved, say officials, as did the profile of those attending events, resulting in an empty garage that began losing money.
The city intends to capitalise on this fact by constructing Valencia’s first park and ride facility. It complements the city’s proposed pedestrianisation plans and has a strong sustainability flavour, both of which are very on-trend these days. In light of this, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles will be installed in the parking, and future users will be transported to the city centre by electric buses. EMT Valencia will be in charge of the entire operation, including parking.
When this project was announced, city officials were upbeat, claiming that it would aid in the fight against climate change, reduce urban pollution, and reduce reliance on private transportation in the city. It’s difficult to believe that a 600-space parking lot can do all of that, but it’s a step in the right direction – even if it is a baby step…
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