Friday, 24 March 2023, 08:02
Diego Eyzaguirre, president of the Marbella and San Pedro association for physically disabled people (Asociación de Discapacitados Físicos) has proposed measures including setting up a specialised council and the creation of a local accessibility stamp for businesses, to ensure greater accessibility in the two towns.
The different street remodelling projects that are being carried out throughout the two towns to take accessibility criteria into account and specific interventions have been carried out, such as the construction of the pedestrian ramp linking Avenida Arias de Velasco and Calle Juan XXIII in the Santa Marta neighbourhood.
However, for Eyzaguirre, there is still much to be done by the town hall, but also as a society. "We should be much more inclusive",” he says while recalling that "in 2018 an accessibility plan was made but only for public buildings". Eyzaguirre stresses that "a lot has been left undone".
"For example, the National Police station, which is essential, is not accessible for people with reduced Mobility (PRM)," he says. Among the buildings that have been adapted, he says, are "the library, the Mayor's Office and Marbella town hall".
"Many things need to be adapted and that requires a budget," Eyzaguirre points out. For this reason, his group's proposals include both the public and private sectors, with the creation of a specific department for accessibility and a strategic plan with a budget which is monitored to ensure its progress.
Regarding the private sector, the president of the association explains that "hotels are adapting quite quickly". In fact, the association has already collaborated with some, including Puente Romano, where they have carried out actions to ensure better accessibility. Eyzaguirre praises the local taxi sector which "does comply" and he indicates that "work is being done on the buses".
However, he acknowledges that on a day-to-day basis, "we often use the large supermarkets because they are very well adapted. They have much easier access and they always have PRM parking spaces next to the doors”. That is why he considers the creation of "a municipal stamp that distinguishes adapted establishments so that users know that this shop or supermarket is accessible" would be “good for people with reduced mobility and also for businesses," he says, adding, “We need more commitment from the administrations.”
For Eyzaguirre, accessibility criteria are followed on public works projects like the lowering of pavements to zero level, but he feels there is a lack of specialised advice on how to improve. "We offer a specialised service in accessibility details with promotion and assistance functions and free regional training, and we are consultants.” He adds that members of the association “are technicians and we know what we are talking about. This would avoid making mistakes”.
As examples of well-adapted places Eyzaguirre cites Valencia and Mallorca, “which are benchmarks in universal accessibility". He also talks about the Camino de Santiago: "We have collaborated with the regional government and they have done a very interesting job", he points out.
The president of the Marbella association considers that although there is still a long way to go in Marbella, work is being done and especially recognises the "effort in San Pedro Alcántara", which is flatter than Marbella. He also regrets that the storms and the absence of breakwaters have ruined the work that has been done in terms of accessibility on some of the town's beaches.
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