Following up on the Madrid Rio post of February 12, 2011… The entire project is now completed and opened!
The Madrid Rio project continues to open it’s completed stages. Now it’s Arganzuela Footbridge is presented to the community. The Madrid Rio project — a combined infrastructure and public space project — began opening to the public on April 15.
In the 1970’s Madrid was cut off from the Manzanares river by construction of the M30 ring motorway. Madrid’s “waterfront” flowed through the middle of the city, not at the edge and so Madrid lost not only its river… it was cut in two. Neighborhoods once just over the river were instantly relegated to the periphery — to “the other side of the tracks,” as is said in the U.S.
The M30 motorway now rests out of view and underground. The Madrid Rio project, a six-kilometer linear park spanning the sunken motorway is the finalization of a plan created a decade ago to reconnect the city center and adjacent neighborhoods to the river.
The design links existing historic parks to new parks and sports and cultural sites, and includes kilometers of bicycle paths, playgrounds, 32 foot bridges, 33,000 new planted trees, and an urban beach.
Developed with the failed hope of attracting the Olympics and spanning Spain’s recent boom/bust, the projects helped contribute to Madrid’s debt — the largest in Spain — and leading the city into bankruptcy. After enduring living in the largest construction site in Europe, Madrid resident will now have to pay for all the projects with increasing taxes for the next few decades.
The citizens, nonetheless, will leave behind a legacy of uniting communities and reestablishing their city on an international level, and they will enjoy the wonderful new environ.