National efforts to fix Malta’s transport problems are plagued by a lack of forward planning and only pay lip service to climate impacts, the Green Party has said.
ADPD secretary ġeneral Ralph Cassar said that the government was “completely ignoring” a transport masterplan and strategy that it had itself commissioned and flagged several inconsistencies in official messaging.
“They say they want to protect farmers, and then take their land. They say they want more open spaces in urban areas, but they then refuse to roll back 2006 changes to zoning laws,” he said.
Transport policies ignored the fact that the vast majority of local journeys are extremely short ones – a 2050 transportation strategy found that the average morning trip was of 5.5km – and that the focus should therefore be on developing infrastructure for sustainable forms of transport such as pedelecs, bicycles and e-scooters, Cassar said.
The ADPD electoral candidate said that while it was positive to hear the government talking about increasing electric vehicle charging points, this would be of little use on its own.
“We need to reduce the number of cars on our roads,” he said. “The country will not be able to sustain the electricity demand if all cars were to switch to electric.”
Cassar also slammed the government’s drive to widen roads, saying the effort was futile as wider roads would simply attract more vehicles to fill them up.
Instead, the ADPD urged the government to focus its efforts on increasing incentives to use public transport. Among the measures that could be adopted were free public transport for all, more bus priority corridors and the introduction of a bus rapid transit system.
Such measures, when coupled with a longer-term plan for a light rail or similar system, would allow Malta to reduce the number of cars on its roads while pedestrianising huge swathes of land, they said.
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