A neighborhood with high levels of pollution, a children’s hospital, a building that is part of the area declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and in the midst of all this, an unnecessary, polluting, disproportionate and harmful macro-parking for the environment, neighbors and patients of the hospital. Any government concerned about progressing towards sustainability and caring for health and the environment would not have even considered the possibility of building an 800-space parking lot in a health center.
The macro-parking projected by the Government of the Community of Madrid collides head-on with the inclusion of the Retiro area and Paseo del Prado on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Pollution and access to car parks were precisely one of the main obstacles for the area to be declared a World Heritage Site.
Health and pollution are incompatible. However, both President Ayuso and Mayor Almeida continue to defend the policy of attracting cars and more cars to the center of Madrid, instead of defending people’s health and the natural, historical and cultural heritage. Consistent with his policy of zero public investment in health, Ayuso wants to finance the necessary expansion work for the Niño Jesús Hospital by building this absolutely disproportionate car park. But we cannot ignore that this plan has a very high cost for our health and that of the girls and boys who go to the hospital.
Faced with such nonsense, Almeida, who as mayor should not only defend the health and heritage of the people of Madrid (and in this case of humanity), remains silent despite the fact that Madrid is the European city with the most deaths from pollution, despite Despite the calls for attention from the European Commission before the European Court of Justice for its ineffective and insufficient fake 360 strategy, and despite warnings from UNESCO to reduce pollution in the protected area… Submission and complicity of the mayor who will pay dearly .
It is incomprehensible that two of the institutions promoting UNESCO’s candidacy are determined to perpetrate the aggression of building a macro-parking lot in the Niño Jesús Children’s Hospital, to finance the expansion of the hospital with private funds in an operation that, moreover, presents serious gaps in terms of its economic viability, given the lack of demand for private parking in the area. Despite the transfer of 40 years of management of the car park, it is likely that the company that finally took charge of the work did not obtain the announced profitability, which is why the competition could be declared void.
The tender, which began in 2020, already had numerous irregularities: with three negative reports from the Community Intervention itself, which indicated upward budget gaps of 1.6 million euros, without authorization from Heritage to be able to carry out this project (the hospital has been a protected asset since 1995) and breaching the Law on Public Sector Contracts. Nothing more and nothing less. The contract was declared void in December 2020 after verifying that the only bidding company did not meet the established requirements. The declaration of the area as a UNESCO World Heritage Site did not make President Ayuso reconsider her decision to go ahead with this attack against heritage and health, and she has put the contract out to tender again.
Parking spaces are not necessary either, since the Niño Jesús has very good access (five EMT lines and two metro stops) and for those who need to arrive by car, on the nearby Doce de Octubre street there is a car park that does not It doesn’t even get crowded on weekends. And more than 8,000 rotation places in the environment. There is no certain demand. To make matters worse, the price of the new car park would be 41% higher than that of municipal car parks.
It will be nothing more than an attractor for private traffic and, therefore, for pollution in one of the most saturated and polluted areas of the city. The Escuelas Aguirre pollution measurement station, close to the hospital, is one of those that registers the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in Madrid. Locating a car park of such dimensions under a children’s hospital is irresponsible, even more so in a hospital that has an admission unit for children with respiratory diseases. According to a study based on data from six years of discharges at the Niño Jesús Hospital, children’s health is an almost exact reflection of environmental pollution, since pollution peaks correspond, linearly, to an increase in hospital admissions.
The contamination generated by the use of macro-parking would also affect the girls and boys of the Escuelas Aguirre school, whose patio adjoins the affected area, and the Ronald McDonald House, which houses families who come to the capital so that their sons and daughters receive treatment at the children’s hospital and at the Pío Baroja center for the elderly. All this without taking into account the numerous affections that a work that will last for months will produce them.
We hope that Ayuso and Almeida come to their senses before UNESCO has to pronounce itself and intervene to stop such an impressive and unnecessary car park as soon as our first World Heritage Site is released. Meanwhile, from More Madrid we will continue working to support the residents of Retiro who very reasonably want to prevent it and to protect the health of the children in the hospital.