Latest News

Disability in Madrid: Puente de Vallecas

Puente de Vallecas is one of the largest districts by population in Madrid, and in the middle when it comes to geographic size. It is home to the largest total population of people with disabilities in Madrid.

The district is home to the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid campus, and the football team Rayo Vallecano de Madrid.  Historically, the district is one of the newer ones and has been home to many new immigrants who move to the city, has been associated with high crime rates, and has some of the cheapest housing in Madrid.


Location of Puente de Vallecas. De Tyk – Trabajo propio, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Puente de Vallecas is a district in Madrid, organized into 6 barrios. With a perimeter of 17,293 meters and an area of 15.0 square kilometers, Puente de Vallecas is near the middle compared to the geographic size of other districts in the city.

Population characteristics

Almost 40% of the city population of people with disabilities reside in 5 districts. The most populace of these is Puente de Vallecas with 16,790 residents with recognized disabilities. Puente de Vallecas saw the single biggest growth of people with disabilities from 2013 to 2014, adding over 500 people with disabilities to the district. This compares to Barajas, the district with the smallest amount of growth, adding only 47 new residents with disabilities in the same period. From 2011 to 2014, the total population with a disability residing in the district increased by 1,820 people. As it relates to the gender gap, Puente de Vallecas is ranked around the middle when compared to other districts, with 51.4% of the people with recognized disabilities in the district being female in 2014. That year, the district had 8,165 men and 8,625 women with disabilities living inside its borders. For both men and women, there were around 900 more people than the next most populated district, Carabanchel, by men and women respectively.

Proportion of people with recognized disabilities for every 1,000 inhabitants in Puente de Vallecas using data from Ayuntamiento de Madrid.

The total people with disabilities per 1,000 residence living in the district remained fairly stable at between 60 and 75 people in the period between 2011 and 2015, with the exception of 2013. That year, there was a spike with 142 people per 1,000 people living in the district having a disability. This spike appears across several districts, suggesting there was a different counting method used that year or the city saw a large one year increase in the total number of people with disabilities residing in the city.

Percentages of people with physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities in the district as of 2014 using data from Ayuntamiento de Madrid.

Puente de Vallecas and Carabanchel have the largest populations of people with physical disabilities as of 2014, with 10,202 and 10,021 residents respectively. Latina ranks third for total population with a recognized physical disability, with 9,432 residents in this category. These 3 districts have around 3,000 more people with physical disabilities in them than the next cluster of districts which have around 6,500 people with physical disabilities each. Usera, Villaverde and Puente de Vallecas are a cluster of districts with the second highest ratio of residents with a physical disability to the 1,000 residents in the district. Behind only Centro with a ratio of 50.04, these districts respectively had ratios of 45.31, 45.22 and 45.11.

Health services and facilities

Health facilities are a broad general class of health service centers that are owned or operated by the Ayuntamiento de Madrid. This graph looks at the count by district of accessible health facilities by district using data from a list of such facilities as the Ayuntamiento de Madrid does not provide a count by district, nor information on who operates them or their square footage.

Puente de Vallecas is home to 16 outpatient health centers. This includes 12 Centro de Salud, 3 Centro de Especialidades, and 1 Centros Salud Mental.

The Ayuntamiento de Madrid offers several types of health facilities that are non-specific to people with disabilities. These include drug addiction center. Most are just generically classified as heath facilities. They include social care center for people with disabilities, residence for people with disabilities, psychosocial rehabilitation center, other municipal public health administrative entity, occupational center for people with disabilities, municipal health organization, drug addiction center, disability health center, day center for people with disabilities, center for the prevention of illness, and animal shelter.

Puente de Vallecas has 4 general health services facilities. While 3 facilities are listed as accessible, 1 is listed as not being accessible. It is one of only two districts to have an inaccessible general health facility. Puente de Vallecas is one of seven districts to have a drug addiction treatment center. The district has 2 facilities, 1 of which which is listed as accessible while the other is listed as not accessible. It is one of two districts to have inaccessible drug addiction treatment centers. The other district with an inaccessible treatment center is in Moncloa-Aravaca. Puente de Vallecas is home to 2 centers for the prevention of illness. These facilities, like all centers for the prevention of illness in Madrid, is listed as being accessible.

There are 6 districts with health facilities for people general physical disabilities. Chamartin, Chamberí, Fuencarral-El Pardo, Puente de Vallecas and Vicálvaro have 1 each. There is only one health facility in Madrid which is designated for people with sensory disabilities. It is located in the district of Puente de Vallecas. One subcategory of health facilities categorized by the Ayuntamiento de Madrid is disability day centers, of which at least one is located in the district. Disabilities catered to by this type of facility in this district include physical disabilities, and sensory disabilities.


Puente de Vallecas had 5 special education students in technical education programs as of August 2016. The district ranked seventh among all districts for the size of this special education student population. 2 students were enrolled at public schools, while 3 were enrolled at private schools with technical subject concentrations. The district ranked seventh and fourth for total students in these types of programs respectively.

Residential and supervised living facilities

The Ayuntamiento de Madrid offers several types of residential facilities and supervised living facilities. These include senior assisted living apartments, social housing center, soup kitchens, social housing centers, sanatoriums, and social foundations. Most are just generically classified as nursing homes or supervised apartments. In most cases, these facilities are not specifically for people with disabilities. They may offer services for groups that are more prone to having disabilities, such as the elderly. Puente de Vallecas has 6 facilities falling into the broad general category of residential and supervised living facilities. 3 of the 6 are accessible. This puts the district near the top for having 50% of their facilities being accessible. Puente de Vallecas has 6 senior assisted living facilities. Of these, 3, or 50%, are listed as being accessible. The district has no other type of residential or supervised living facilities.

Public services

Puente de Vallecas is the location of publicly accessible toilets installed by the Ayuntamiento de Madrid. These are self-contained toilets located in public places. As of 2017, the district was tied at third with 5 other districts for toilets installed in its borders with a total of 3.

The city of Madrid operates a number of public libraries. A number of libraries may be missing as the list from the Ayuntamiento de Madrid does not appear complete. Where data is available, 10 districts have public libraries. Of these, 3 have 1 library each that are not accessible. These districts are Puente de Vallecas, San Blas-Canillejas and Villaverde. Arganzuela, Moncloa-Aravaca, Moratalaz, Puente de Vallecas, Retiro, San Blas-Canillejas and Villaverde are listed as having one accessible library each.

Public transport

All 5 metro stops serving Puente de Vallecas are listed by Metro Madrid as being accessible as of January 2018. Of these 5 metro stops, 3 have elevators, while all have complementary accessibility measures and ramps. Of the 12 districts served by Metro Madrid stations that had specific funding designated to upgrade accessibility to specific metro stations, the district ranked eighth in total funding, with 4,725,600.00 € allocated for improvements. Puente de Vallecas ranked sixth in average funding, with stations serving it getting 4,725,600.00 € to fund accessibility efforts.


The Ayuntamiento de Madrid is involved with allocating public parking in the city, both spots alongside public roads and in running public car parks. The Ayuntamiento de Madrid provides data on the location of accessible public parking locations, and the total number of spots at these locations. The data is dated as being from May 2017. The correlation between the total number of locations and total number of spots is 0.97. The more unique locations a district has, the more total spots the district has. Across all districts the average unique location had an average of 1.099 to 1.310 spots each. Most unique parking locations have few spots dedicated to disabled users with all districts having the same minimum number of spots per location at 1.

Puente de Vallecas leads all districts in terms of total number of unique parking locations with disabled parking spots with spots at 808 locations. It has 1047 total spots across all locations, averaging 1.257 per location. The most disabled parking spots at any single location in the district is6, putting the district tied for sixth in this category along with 5 other districts.

Sporting facilities

The district with the most polideportivos is Moncloa-Aravaca, with 9. This is almost twice as many as Arganzuela, Puente de Vallecas and Villaverde which have 5 each. Centro, Chamberí and Barajas as the other opposite end of the spectrum. These districts have 1 polideportivo each. Lack of total total polideportivos in a district does not correlate to the size of polideportivos in square meters. The Pearson’s Coefficient in this case is 0.461, suggesting more randomness between the two numbers than correlation between total polideportivos and total area of polideportivos . This is noteworthy in that Moratalaz only has 2 polideportivos, but ranks number one in total square area of polideportivo space with 267,300 square meter. Latina, with 4 polideportivos, is second in total area with 214,768 square meters. Puente de Vallecas ranks third using this metric, with its 5 polideportivos having a total of 198,865 square meters.

Count by district of accessible track and field facilities.

Puente de Vallecas’s 5 polideportivos are all listed by the Ayuntamiento de Madrid as being accessible. The district has 5 pools that are equipped with a pool hoist. One polideportivo in the district has a pool ramp, while 4 do not. It is one of only three districts to have polideportivos with a pool ramp. None of the district’s polideportivos have a wheelchair accessible entrance ramp. This may be because none is required as there are no steps to enter.

Count by district of inaccessible tennis courts.

33 basic sports facilities are located in Puente de Vallecas. This puts the district as sixth for total number of basic sporting facilities in its borders. Of these, 9 are access controlled, while 24 are open air facilities. They have a combined 96,761 and 44,169 total square meters of space respectively. The correlation between total access controlled facilities and square meters of size is .91, while open air facilities have a correlation of 0.61. This suggests the more basic sport facilities, the more square meters there are of them per district.

Count by district of accessible roller hockey rinks.

Puente de Vallecas has some of the greatest diversity when it comes to having specialized facilities serving specific sports. It has specific facilities for at least 15 unique sports.

Count of inaccessible badminton courts by district.

Puente de Vallecas is one of six districts with 1 facility that has a specialized area for track and field. It is one of 3 districts where track and field is located at an inaccessible facility. Puente de Vellecas is the only district to have badminton courts, with this type of court found at only 1 basic sport installation inside the district’s borders. Puente de Vallecas ranks fourth in Madrid for the total number of facilities with basketball courts. It has 17. None of these are listed as being at accessible facilities.

Puente de Vallecas is tied for eleventh for the number of sporting facilities with at least one football field with 3 facilities. While 2 of these are at inaccessible facilities, 1 is at an accessible facility. It is the only district in Madrid to have a football specific field that is located at an accessible facility. Puente de Vallecas has 1 facility having courts to play Basque pelota. The frontón is not located at an accessible facility. Puente de Vallecas ranks first in the number of facilities with handball courts. The district has 16 polideportivos and or basic sporting facilities that include handball courts. Along with Arganzuela, it is one of only two districts to have a handball court at an accessible facility. Of the district’s 16 facilities with these courts, only 1 is at an accessible facility.

Puente de Vallecas is one of six districts to have 1 facility with at least one lawn bowls (bocce or bolos) court. It is located at a basic sporting facility, with data from the Ayuntamiento de Madrid listing all these facilities as inaccessible. Puente de Vallecas is tied with two other districts for total number of facilities with paddle courts at 2. It is one of only two districts to have at paddle court located at an accessible facility, with courts found at 1 facility. None of the Pétanque terrains in Madrid are located at polideportivos. All are found at basic sports installations. Of these Puente de Vallecas is one of six districts in the city to have 1 basic sport installation with at least one Pétanque terrain located on its grounds.

Puente de Vallecas is one of only four districts to have a facility with a roller hockey rink. It is one of two districts to have this rink be located at an accessible polideportivo. Puente de Vallecas has 1 facility with at least one skating rink. It is not located at an accessible facility.

Puente de Vallecas has the most swimming pools of any district with 4. All are accessible. Puente de Vallecas is tied for third with four other districts for the number of facilities with table tennis tables at 4. The district is tied for second with the number of facilities having table tennis tables located at accessible facilities with 1.

Puente de Vallecas has 2 facilities with tennis courts, one of which is accessible and the other which is not. It is one of three districts with accessible tennis courts. Puente de Vallecas is tied for first with four other districts for the number of facilities with volleyball courts at 2. Only ten districts in the city specifically have courts for volleyball at their facilities. Neither are listed as being at accessible facilities.



Sporting opportunities

The number of disability sports offered in polideportivos in Puente de Vallecas using data from Ayuntamiento de Madrid.

The disability served by the most polideportivos in the district is physical disability, with 4 polideportivos offering opportunities for these sportspeople. Opportunities for people with deaf and hearing impairments are offered at 3 polideportivos, while people with intellectual disabilities, and sensory disabilities are offered programming at 2 polideportivos in Puente de Vallecas.

Latina is the district with the greatest number of sporting opportunities at the greatest number of polideportivos with 16. Puente de Vallecas is second at 14.

There are a number of disability swimming variants offered by polideportivos in Madrid. These include para-swimming which is open to all people with disabilities, id swimming which is open to people with intellectual disabilities, deaf swimming which is open to all people with hearing impairments, and physical disability swimming which is open to people with physical disabilities. Only three districts offer programs for deaf swimming. They are Moratalaz, Puente de Vallecas and Vicálvaro, with Puente de Vallecas having programs at 2 polideportivos while the others have 1 polideportivo each. Of the 20 districts with information about disability sports in their borders, all 20 have at least 1 polideportivo offering a para-swimming program. Moncloa-Aravaca comes out on top, with 5 polideportivos offering programs in this swimming variant. Ciudad Lineal and Puente de Vallecas are second with 4 polideportivos in these districts offering para-swimming.

The number of polideportivos in each district offering an adapted version of paddle. Data used from Ayuntamiento de Madrid descriptions of offerings from each polideportivo and then manually tabulated.

Beyond swimming, several other opportunities are offered for people with disabilities to get in the pool and engage in physical activity. These activities include adapted aquafitness, adapted aquatics and adapted aquatic gymnastics which are open to all types of disabilities, and id aquatics open to people with intellectual disabilities. For adapted aquatics, 5 districts offer programs with Puente de Vallecas having 3 polideportivos offering programs, while Ciudad Lineal has 2 polideportivos offering programs.

There are several general fitness type opportunities for people with disabilities across Madrid. These include adapted fitness, adapted physical activity, adapted physical therapy, adapted pilates, adapted rhythmic gymnastics, id aerobics, id fitness, general id sport and reduced mobility physical conditioning. Carabanchel and Puente de Vallecas are the two districts that have 1 polideportivo each offering both adapted fitness and adapted physical activity.

Four versions of adapted paddle are offered by polideportivos in Madrid. They are deaf paddle, id paddle, para-paddle and wheelchair paddle. Seven districts offer para-paddle at 1 polideportivo inside their borders. They are Latina, Vicálvaro, Carabanchel, Ciudad Lineal, Fuencarral-El Pardo, Puente de Vallecas and Villaverde.

The only adapted variant of volleyball offered by polideportivos in Madrid is deaf volleyball. It is offered at 1 polideportivo in three different districts: Hortaleza, Puente de Vallecas and Vicálvaro.


People with disabilities in Puente de Vallecas appear to lack access to general crucial services and facilities like education, libraries and public toilets.  These are critical areas, that are only mildly offset by an increased volume of health services, public transport and parking access, and sporting facility access and opportunities.  The relatively high number of opportunities stand in contrast to the fact that rarely does the district with the highest number of people with disabilities lead in volume of services and opportunities in these areas.  People in Puente de Vallecas are underserved compared to their population size.

Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2569 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees. She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


%d bloggers like this: