Amorebieta-Etxano: the city with no traffic lights
In the Biscay municipality of Amorebieta-Etxano and in the district and villages around it (Bernagoitia, Larrea, Boroa…) there are things to be seen just about everywhere. Typical Basque country houses alongside palaces from the early 20th century, churches raised in the area in the last five centuries and with monuments hardly a decade old. Nothing is too much. What was too much must have been the traffic lights, and here you will not find any. Eleven years ago the Town Hall decided that Amorebieta-Etxano had to get rid of traffic lights.
Declared unwanted citizens, their function in the city was taken over by raised walkways, roundabouts and give-way signs. Would these be enough to control traffic in a municipality of almost 18,000 inhabitants that has to put up with an average of 12,000 vehicles a day?
Time has shown that it was. The accident rate has dropped by 80%, in Amorebieta-Etxano there are fewer crashes, accidents, people knocked down … And the residents go around their town much more peacefully, not without paying attention, of course, but knowing that they have priority on the zebra crossings, which makes these an extension of the pedestrian area.
The elevated walkways, roundabouts and signals have not only managed to deal with the traffic by themselves and prevent accidents, but also in this town the cars do not wait with their engines running at any traffic light. This means fewer CO2 emissions and therefore the air in Amorebieta-Etxano is clean, very clean.
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