Cyclists have reacted with concern and dismay to plans to revamp a key junction in Paceville, noting that Infrastructure Malta’s plans do not take bicycle commuters into account.
Rota said that the plans published by the state infrastructural agency confirm its fears about the project, and asked why plans were shrouded in secrecy for years despite being publicly funded.
“There is still zero bicycle infrastructure despite the potential,” the cycling advocacy NGO said of the plans. “The only legal way for the vulnerable bicycle remains through the same car-centric, suicidal maze through the same big junctions, tunnels, flyovers, one-way systems and roundabout exits, as car drivers would use.”
Infrastructure Malta said last week that it will be soon filing a planning application for the project, which will replace traffic lights at the Swieqi-St Julian’s junction on Regional Road with a series of new road connections.
Along with the announcement, Infrastructure Malta published 3D computer-generated renders of the proposed changes.
Rota noted that, based on those renders, very little has changed from the plans leaked to Malta Today in June 2023.
After Rota issued a full report flagging problems with the proposal. Infrastructure Malta had reassured the NGO that the leak was of a “preliminary draft”.
On Sunday, Rota said that plans that Infrastructure Malta has now submitted for the project confirmed its fears.
Among its concerns:
- The apparent 2m-wide pavement near Bay Street is too narrow to cater for cyclists, especially in a busy area like Paceville
- How will cyclists join and exit the route from all seven of its links?
- Why has an area beneath the flyover been reserved for a car park instead of a dedicated bicycle path?
In a social media post on Sunday, Infrastructure Malta highlighted footpaths and pedestrian links along the proposed route. The post made no mention of cycling lanes.
Rota said it was perplexed by secrecy surrounding this project.
“St Andrew's Road is a project funded by everyone's taxes, for the public. Whenever we try to bring it up, we are always left in secrecy. Drawings on planning application form PA/06089/19 have not been updated for the past 5 years,” the NGO said.
It also said it could not understand how Infrastructure Malta could unveil projects which are designed very well for cycling, such as plans to revamp the Bombi area in Floriana, and then ignore alternative mobility options in other projects such as that in St Julian’s or Msida Creek.
Infrastructure Malta has long been criticised for its lack of consideration of cyclists in road projects, though it alleviated some of that in late 2022 when it announced a €35 million plan to add 50km of cycling routes across Malta.