A newly set up association which represents 100 shopkeepers in the centre of Nicosia, the Nicosia Pedestrian Association, has called for cars to be banned from Rigainis street as a priority over pedestrianising Costakis Pantelides street, daily Phileleftheros reported on Friday.
The association said it does not disagree with turning Costakis Pantelides street into a pedestrian zone but argues that Rigainis street should be developed with proper lighting and without cars parked along the road first.
They also believe other pedestrian areas in the vicinity will be supported this way.
For this to happen, the association argues, Costakis Pantelides street must remain open to traffic for now.
The shopkeepers also reportedly believe that if Rigainis is not pedestrianised first, it will be impossible to do this until the reconstruction work on Evagorou, Leventis and Makarios avenues, which will be completed in a few years, is finished.
The Nicosia Pedestrian Association is asking all those who signed a petition calling on the municipality to pedestrianise Costakis Pantelides and who wish to support the old city to back them too.
A protest outside the multipurpose centre in Pallouriotissa will take place on Sunday at 12.30pm, where residents of Nicosia will ask for Costakis Pantelides, part of the current revamp of Eleftheria Square, to remain a car free area.
The residents sent a letter to Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis accompanied with 3,000 signatures, saying that allowing the circulation of cars on Costakis Pantelides street will severely affect the quality of life of the capital’s residents.
“We urge you to make a decision based on the common good, looking at the future, not at private interests. Your decision will be of historical importance and has the possibility to shape the future of the capital of Cyprus forever,” the letter said.
The group argued that the road has been closed for eight years without creating traffic problems.
In addition, the pedestrianisation of Costakis Pantelides will reduce pollution, increase safety for people using wheelchairs, as well as children and pedestrians and will strengthen the social fabric of the historical centre, the group argues.