A NEW four-lane road being built in one of the busiest tourist areas of Paphos is a waste of money and is bad for business, as it was conceived nearly three decades ago when the area had no sign of any development.
Local officials insisted the ambitious two-year project to upgrade the Tombs of the Kings road went ahead despite protests by businesses and residents of the area, who said it was outdated and would spell disaster for trade, with many outlets being forced to close.
Objections against the 26-year-old plan have fallen on deaf ears. The dual carriageway – which will eventually form part of a planned ring-road around the town – was initially designed in 1987, when the surrounding area was nothing like it is today. Back then, the Tombs of the Kings was a more rustic scene, with the occasional building and vast open spaces. The new plan doesn’t seem to take into account any of the changes to infrastructure or recent developments.
The present road is now a busy hub with restaurants, cafés, bars, hotels, apartments and other enterprises all relying on passing trade to bolster income. It’s not easy to pull up on a four-lane dual carriageway with double yellow lines each side; and as we all know, Cypriots like to park right outside their destination.
There is no doubt that the road has become scruffier in recent years with a general air of shabbiness, but surely millions could’ve been saved by the cash-strapped government if the road was widened in parts and re-surfaced. Proper street lighting and adding greenery would surely have sufficed and enabled the road to keep some of its character.
Even though there will be walkways each side of the new road, this only goes some way towards encouraging any sort of ‘foot trade’ into the area.
Progress doesn’t need to involve tons of concrete and millions of wasted euros. A typical section of the road will include two lanes each way and 7 metres wide on each side, with the central reservation between 2 and 3.6 metres. The pedestrian walkways will be about 2.5 metres, the green area about one metre and the cycle path about 2.7 metres wide.
Tombs of the Kings Road is not like Paphos harbour which is a natural attraction and draws hundreds of tourists at a time. Visitors to the new Kings Mall at one end of the road are hardly likely to cross four lanes of traffic to take a stroll along an exhaust fume filled dual carriageway to discover any interesting eateries or shops – especially when the mall will have ‘everything under one roof.’ In addition, will tourists really want to pay for a view of a dual carriageway?
Currently just over six months into the €11m project, businesses say they are already suffering from disruption caused by the ongoing works. What remains to be seen is how many businesses will still be open when the latest white elephant in Paphos is completed in two years’ time.