Barcelona: Woody Allen Troubles and City Bikes!
Visiting Barcelona? Watch out for Woody:
The BBC reported Monday that the city of Barcelona is coughing up € 1,000,000 to Woody Allen, covering 10% of the budget of his upcoming film, which is set in the city and currently filming around town. In addition, the regional Catalonian government is chipping in another € 500,000.
Residents are annoyed with the amount of public funds going to the project (75% polled found the contribution “excessive”). Locals and tourists are annoyed by some shut-downs around town: the Ramblas was recently closed for filming. And Barcelona filmmakers are annoyed that the government isn’t willing to donate the same amount to cash to local directors.
But there’s an upside: Who wouldn’t want to sneak a peak at the lovely Scarlett Johansson, and Spanish stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. And the film is likely to be good for the city’s tourism industry, as Allen promises the movie to be a “love letter to Barcelona.” Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu insists, “It’s a huge advertisement for the city that will be seen all over the world.”
Meanwhile, we can’t get enough of the city-sponsored bike program movement sweeping through Europe. We’ve posted about Paris (a couple of times). Barcelona launched their own modest program back in March and has been steadily increasing the number of bikes accessible to would-be riders. Earlier this month, the city increased the number of cycles to 1,500 available at 100 stations throughout the city.
Now, Barcelona plans to double both those numbers–aiming to get 3,000 public bikes available at 200 pick-up stations by the end of 2007. So far, 80,000 eager cyclists have signed up for the program, far exceeding the 15,000 riders projected by city planners.
The bike program costs € 24 a year to join, but allows for an unlimited number of free 30-minute rides (and 30 cents per half hour thereafter).