By Maria Gregoriou
NICOSIA municipality has calculated that since July 24 when the temporary footbridge connecting Stasinou Avenue with old Nicosia was opened, more than 45,000 people have crossed in both directions.
During the first week of use, 798 people used the footbridge on average per day. From July 31 until September 5, more than 1,298 used the footbridge on average per day.
“The numbers show a significant increase in the movement of people crossing the footbridge, proving that the bridge is serving its purpose as a temporary solution until the Eleftheria Square project is finished,” the municipality said in a statement.
Communications officer Makis Nicolaides told the Mail the numbers were calculated by two tracking machines, one at the beginning of the bridge and one at the end.
“The figures recorded show that the number of people crossing the bridge was larger in August than in the first week of its use,” Nicolaides said.
The reasons for these monitoring machines are strictly for statistical purposes.
“People need time to get used to new ideas. A small number of people start using the construction and then this number grows until it reaches it peak and I believe we are not there yet,” he added.
According to the statistics, more people use the bridge coming from Stasinou Avenue into the old town than vice versa.
The footbridge also helps people with the problem of parking in the capital as it makes it easier for them to park on Makarios Avenue and cross over to the old town.
It takes less than seven minutes to walk from the old town to the city centre.
“It is difficult to find parking in the old town but Makarios Avenue and the nearby side roads are paved with many parking spots. The footbridge makes this movement from one area of the city to another easier, without worrying about finding parking,” Nicolaides said.
Nicolaides could not compare the current number of people moving from Makarios Avenue to the old part of town with numbers in the past. No means of measurement were set before the footbridge was constructed but “there was a lot of movement within Eleftheria Square,” he added.
The development of Eleftheria Square should be finished by the end of the year and the whole project surrounding the nearby area should be completed by the end of 2014.
“Once Eleftheria square is up and running the footbridge will be taken down as the strip of land where it is set-up will be part of the bigger project,” Nicolaides said.
The bridge has been placed at the narrowest part of the D’Avila moat wall and where the progress of works will not be hindered.
It starts at the back of Nicosia municipality behind the town hall building on Constantinou Paleologou Street and ends on Stasinou Avenue.