By Constantinos Psillides
AFTER-hours car racing is alive and well along Grivas Dighenis Avenue in Nicosia, according to Engomi Mayor Zacharias Kyriakou who issued a statement saying that traffic police failed to resolve the problem despite installing speed cameras.
“Illegal car racing on Grivas Dighenis is still going on. The street is a hell of noise pollution with all the dangers that go along with that,” said Kyriakou in his statement, explaining that while the speed cameras monitor a stretch of the avenue effectively, the car races moved to the next part of the street and continue undisturbed.
Kyriakou argued that placing speed bumps along Grivas Dighenis would solve the problem, and accused the communications ministry of taking their time with the tender process that would allow a private contractor to install the bumps.
This was not the first time Kyriakou railed against the alleged failure of speed cameras to deal with the car racing problem.
On July 17, the Engomi mayor publicly asked traffic police to switch the speed cameras off during the day, arguing that it was only resulting in fining “hard-working people trying to get to work in the mornings.”
The speed cameras cover the area from the Metochi traffic lights to the Engomi McDonalds traffic lights.
Police said that from the beginning of June, when the cameras became operational, 20,000 speed violations had been recorded.
Traffic Police Chief Yiannakis Charalambous had then told the Engomi mayor that the speed cameras helped in dealing with the problem of car racing. Kyriakou contested that, saying in his statement that only speed bumps would help.
“We only hope that the competent authorities will keep their promises and enforce those measures needed to deal with the problem. We have requested laying down the speed bumps to get rid of these nightmarish car races that keep people up at night and endanger lives,” said Kyriakou, adding that he met with Charalambous to discuss the problem.
The speed bumps will be laid on the part of the avenue not covered by the cameras, from McDonalds’ traffic lights to the Kolokasides roundabout.
The speed limit on Grivas Dighenis Avenue is 50 km/h as it runs through a residential area that has long suffered noise pollution and increased accident rates caused by racing drivers.
The cameras are operated by police officers, unlike the rest of the planned traffic camera network that will be set up in early 2015 all over the island.
By the end of July the communications ministry will be putting together a tender, aiming to have the new system up and running by February 2015.