A group of residents and NGOs have urged ministers to send the controversial Msida Creek project back to the drawing board and look for alternatives, citing a number of concerns.
Announced in 2019, the roadworks project proposes the elimination of the Msida Circus junction, to be replaced with flyovers, allowing traffic to flow uninterrupted but also adding massive concrete infrastructure in the heart of the town.
In a statement on Sunday, a group of NGOs said that they had written to Transport Minister Ian Borg, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia, roads agency Infrastructure Malta and Msida local council, urging them to consider alternatives to the project and to focus on better connectivity for pedestrians and public transport.
“We propose the urban landscape be transformed into a new and improved public transport interchange with the potential to provide a major public open space, building on the historic context, strengthening the commercial potential and quality of life while maximising the potential of the mature trees in the existing playing field,” the letter reads.
“The idea is to better serve the residents, public transport commuters and students while facilitating the cycling experience as well as walking, often the transportation mode for those most vulnerable. In this sense, we feel it is important to understand the routes which these commuters use and provide the most direct and convenient movement paths to support them and further encourage a shift by others towards the use of sustainable transport modes. We would like to ensure that the needs of everyone are addressed.”
The groups are also insisting that social impact and environmental impact assessments are carried out for any project proposed in the area, to gauge the impact of the project on the locality.
Detractors of the flyovers project say that the proposed development is a short-term solution to congestion problems that will cost millions to the detriment of the community at large.
They argue that the project will take away one of the few open green and public spaces in Msida and effectively ‘split’ the locality in two, forcing cyclists and pedestrians to use footbridges to cross from one side to the other.
“The project as it has been proposed is atrocious,” the letter said.
“The locality of Msida is in need of long-term sustainable transport solutions as opposed to temporary band aids on congestion and parking problems, which will cost us millions in taxes, health costs, and unquantifiable quality of life costs.”
“The proposed flyovers will completely destroy the only green open space in Msida, as well as destroying a community space where children, the elderly, boċċi and tombola enthusiasts, and many others gather in order for this to be replaced by a car park.”
The letter was signed by 200 Msida residents, as well as Din l-Art Ħelwa, Friends of the Earth Malta, Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar, Moviment Graffitti, Ramblers’ Association Malta and The Archaeological Society Malta.
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