About Jimena de la Frontera, the province of Cadiz and Spain as a whole, focused on this small village in the mountains

‘Barreras arquitectónicas’ in Spanish, impossible in any language

PICT0010 If you’ve ever tried to lift, push or otherwise manoeuvre someone in a wheelchair, this item will be familiar. Recent work on the pavements on Avenida de los Deportes seems to have forgotten that there are plenty of people in wheelchairs in Jimena. We don’t see them often because they have such enormous difficulties in the town. The picture that illustrates this article is probably the best example of what we mean, but there are a lot more examples more below.>


This lamppost is set right in the middle of the pavement that runs along the side of the primary school, with a waste bin attached, unfinished paving and close to a tube that will one day in some century contain electricity cables. It isn’t only impossible for wheelchairs, but for push chairs too.

PICT0032 Further down the same pavement we come across a very steep step leading down into the road. We will be told that the zebra crossing is a few metres to right in the picture, but it is those few metres that are exhausting. The natural inclination is to step into the traffic, which instinct is not exclusive to the wheelchair bound, but also to small children and the elderly.

PICT0034 The problem above is made worse in that no pavement was built on the other side of the road by the builders’ merchant. There is no way to walk down that side without coming into the road. And look at the parking!

PICT0040 Having crossed the road we come to a desert of a pavement that may or may not have been planned taking into account the future redevelopment of that corner. Further down, just before getting to Cuenca’s Restaurant, we find a wobbly lamppost thoroughly rusted through a its base. It can’t take more than a couple of shoves to push it over. And have you ever tried to push a wheelchair over loose gravel?

PICT0015 How a wheelchair is supposed to get up or down in front of the restaurant is a moot point. Crossing the road towards the supermarket may be an answer, but if you’re headed for the pool, as we were, that’s a lot of pushing and shoving. In any case, parking such as this is to be found at all times of the day.

PICT0016 Another illustration of anarchic parking, taken a few minutes after the previous one. Think of a wheelchair bound person trying to cross the road in the heat or the rain, waiting for the deliveries to be finished. (A Local Police car went by twice while we were taking these last two photos. Never stopped.)

PICT0014 If we had chosen the other side of the road to come down, we’d be met by a curb like this. Pedestrian crossing it may be, but pedestrian implies being able to lift one’s feet. This mishmash (chapuza in local Spanish) is not only confusing but could be dangerous to someone with impaired eyesight.

PICT0013 The other side of the same zebra crossing is undoubtedly another problem for the wheelchair. We won’t mention double parking, or that the crossing is often used as a pick up point for shopping.

PICT0019 But we were headed for the pool on the other side of the road, and came across this. It is puzzling to anyone, let alone someone pushing a wheelchair. You are forced onto the street, which might be okay if there isn’t a car blocking the way.

PICT0017 PICT0018

We made it to the pool entrance, but it’s a good thing we didn’t want to head further down the hill instead. These cars (right) kindly left a dip in the pavement open but we wouldn’t have been able to reach it.

PICT0020 We’re at the pool, ready to change, but someone needs the toilet. Have you ever tried to push a wheelchair over tall grass? Or over someone’s feet? The path is not wide enough and it is almost impossible to get round those sharp corners.

PICT0023 We wanted to access the bar -we needed a drink by then – but that’s almost as difficult as anywhere else. Not only is there a step but it’s at an awkward angle – and then there’s mud thanks to the shower. Have you ever got a wheelchair bogged down in mud?

The above sequence covers a mere 400-500 metres, can you imagine what it might be like in other places in town? Now that so much make-do work is being done all over the place (we’re thinking particularly of the Mirador and Olof Palme squares) let us hope some forward thinking has been done taking into consideration the needs of our more challenged neighbours – or is that too much to hope for?


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  Juan Antonio wrote @

PROSPERO NOTE: The legalese part of this comment, in Spanish below, will not be translated here. But it begins by saying that the pictures must surely be “the fruit of my imagination” as there is legislation on the subject of accessibility since 1992, which the municipal architect must see applied BEFORE he or she approves it and it is received by the Council. The comment also points out that for over a decade there has been an obligatory annual budget aimed at eliminating ‘architectural barriers’ in the municipality. Last year, it amounted to €60,000 to install a lift at the Town Hall – “has anyone seen it?” asks the commentator.
It must be noted that Juan Antonio, who signs the comment, is a Jimena Councillor of the opposition PA. However, he has a personal family interest in the subject of this article.

Por supuesto estas imágenes deben ser fruto de tu imaginación, ya que desde hace más de una década en Andalucía se dispone de una NORMATIVA DE ACCESIBILIDAD (RD 72/1992) de obligado cumplimiento que los técnicos municipales tienen que tener en cuenta ANTES de dar el visto bueno a la finalización de las obras.

Entre otros, te destaco algunas referencias que puedes comprobar posiblemente a pie de calle.

Art. 6
El trazado y diseño de los itinerarios públicos y privados de uso comunitario,
destinados al paso de peatones, cumplirán las siguientes condiciones:
a) El ancho mínimo será de 1,20 m.
b) Las pendientes transversales y longitudinales se atendrán a lo dispuesto en los arts. 8.º y 11 del presente Decreto.
c) La altura máxima de los bordillos será de 14 cm, debiendo rebajarse en los pasos de peatones y esquinas de las calles a nivel del pavimento.

Y respecto a los obstáculos en las aceras, tal como describe el art. 14, las farolas u otros elementos se colocarán en el tercio exterior siempre que queden 90 cms. libres de acera. En caso de que no sea posible, se ubicarán en la unión de la fachada con la acera, o sea, que quedaría toda la acera libre para el tránsito peatonal, de sillas de ruedas, carros de bebé, o lo que se precise.

Art. 14. Señales verticales y otros elementos del mobiliario
1. Cualesquiera señales, postes, anuncios u otros elementos verticales que deban colocarse en la vía pública, se situarán en el tercio exterior de la acera, siempre que la anchura libre restante sea igual o mayor de 90 cm. Si esta dimensión fuera menor, se colocarán junto al encuentro de la alineación de la fachada con la acera. En todo caso, se procurará el agrupamiento de varias de ellas en un único soporte.

Por último destacarte que en Jimena, desde hace también una década, existe un acuerdo aprobado unánimemente en pleno por el que en TODOS LOS PRESUPUESTOS ANUALES debe existir una PARTIDA ESPECIFICA destinada a la ELIMINACION DE BARRERAS.

Lamentablemente, todos los años se destina una cantidad fantasma que al final no se sabe dónde va a parar. El año pasado fueron más de 60 mil euros para instalar un ascensor en el Ayuntamiento (¿alguien lo ha visto?), anteriormente 36 mil euros que fueron para la colocación de “embarrás”, según Fernando Gómez, ya que al parecer eso elimina barreras arquitectónicas, y en el de este año, como es probable que ni se llegue a aprobar…. mejor no sigo.

En cualquier caso estaba previsto solicitar el informe del técnico responsable de los finales de obra que garantice el cumplimiento de esta normativa. En Tesorillo te puedo confirmar que se están creando muchas barreras estos días con esos planes de obras, aunque por desgracia no es nada nuevo que esto ocurra cuando el objetivo es poner ladrillos sin saber muy bien para qué.

Juan Antonio

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