By Evie Andreou
THE Aglandjia and Larnaca Avenues must not become four-lane roads and suffer the same fate of other high streets in the capital that saw business decline after radical road works, the head of the initiative committee against the proposed changes, Andreas Pitsiakkos said yesterday.
The committee issued an announcement urging residents of the area to protest against the proposed redevelopment plans of the two avenues in Aglandjia, which, they say, is being promoted secretly by the municipality.
“Its execution, the way it is planned, will cause disturbance to residents and will lead tradespeople to financial disaster,” the announcement said.
“We call on all residents and businesses of the area to a dynamic struggle to overturn the unacceptable manipulations of the municipality and the municipal council, so that we can all prevent the execution of this project with the existing design, which creates a speed track in the area and near our homes,” the announcement said.
“We don’t object to works that will give the streets a facelift, but there are serious mistakes in these plans; we don’t want them to end up like Kyrenia Avenue where those of us who have businesses there have been suffering the last five years when these ‘improvement’ constructions were completed,” Pitsiakkos said.
He added that on Kyrenia Avenue metal posts along the road prevent people from parking near shops and are also causing accidents as cars crash onto them or cars are damaged.
“We don’t want another Strovolos Avenue in our hands, where the traffic island constructed there destroyed businesses. They want to do the same on Tseri Avenue. I sympathise with the residents and shop owners of that area and I support them,” Pitsiakkos said.
“There have been reactions about the proposed development ever since it was announced 25 years ago,” Aglandjia Mayor Costas Kortas told the Cyprus Mail.
He added that taking into consideration the concerns of the residents of the area the council managed to introduce some changes in the original plans.
“Improvements have been made in the plans to help traders, we have managed to increase roadside parking places to 158, but for safety reasons there can not be parking in front of every shop along these avenues,” Kortas said.
He added that the project was to be implemented in 2010, but due to the economic crisis it froze like many other construction work and that the government plans to proceed with some projects this year and the next. There was no word yet if the Aglandjia project will be among them.
“We were accused by the struggle committee that we act behind closed doors, but this is not the case. All of our council meetings are always open. The new municipal council has met with the committee and heard their views and we have also informed them about the changes,” Kortas said.
He added that the Larnaca avenue leads to the campus of the University of Cyprus and that its improvement is crucial as pavements are needed and that two of the lanes can be reserved for buses.
In the future and with slight modifications, it can also host a tram line if plans for its development are implemented, Kortas said.