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Strovolos mulls new proposal for Tseri Avenue

A previous protest by local business owners

THE Strovolos municipal council is to respond to the latest proposal by the transport ministry on the redevelopment of Tseri Avenue in September, Mayor Andreas Papacharalambous said on Friday.

The saga of the redevelopment of Tseri Avenue has been ongoing for a number of years as residents and shop owners have been opposing the government’s plans for a facelift of the commercial road. Critics do not oppose a redevelopment, but would like one that would preserve both the avenue’s commercial life and neighbourly-like character.

Papacharalambous was presented last week with the revised plan prepared by the transport ministry concerning the redevelopment of the road, following numerous consultations.

“The latest suggestion of the transport ministry is to remove a large part of the concrete median strip (separating opposing lanes of traffic), add extra parking space by appropriating more land, and possibly a bicycle lane,” Papacharalambous told the Cyprus Mail. He added that the plans also provide for a three-lane avenue; two lanes from Tseri to Strovolos and one from Strovolos to Tseri.

“I informed the municipal council and we will decide in September after we study the proposed plans,” he said.

But the latest government proposal has not satisfied organised residents and shops owners, who argue that they would like safe and direct access to the shops along the avenue.

Tseri Avenue initiative committee, comprised of residents and business owners, would like to see a two-lane road with a third lane where necessary, wide pavements with provisions for greenery, easy and safe access to residences, parking spaces for businesses, adequate lighting, and provisions for a low speed limit.

“In short, we are calling for a road of modern, European standards. And we want it immediately,” the group said.

The group argues that a three-lane road would inevitably lead to increased speeding, “in a densely populated area, while at the same time it would make the road more dangerous, and increase the level of noise and pollution resulting in a decrease in the quality of our lives”.

They also said that widening the road would mean narrower pavements which would make access more difficult for prams and wheelchairs.

The presence of many lanes and of a median, “would force inhabitants of more than 200 residences taking detours to enter or exit their home, with always increased risk due to the high traffic speeds that will be developed (by passing cars)”.

It added that the few parking spaces provided in the government plan, in combination with the high traffic speeds “will dramatically decrease the survival chances of the more 120 businesses in the area”.

The group also put forward the question of increased traffic reaching Strovolos Avenue, through the two lanes leading to Nicosia as per the government’s proposed plan.

Former Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said in March that a last-ditch effort would be made with the new municipal council and the involvement of state technocrats who were tasked with coming up with a solution acceptable to all.

The cash earmarked for the project has been blocked by parliament, while Hasikos had expressed the belief that petty politics and vested interests would be set aside to pave the way for the money to be released for the reconstruction.

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