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Our View: Years of building work a high price to pay for improvements

The new look Stasikratous street

Having finally completed the roadworks on Stassikratous Street and Homer Avenue in central Nicosia, the municipality will give the capital’s residents a month’s free pass before Makarios Avenue is closed and the construction company moves in. In other words, in a few weeks’ time the town centre’s ‘building site’ character, which seems to be lasting forever, will be restored.

We are told all this work is aimed at improving the quality of life of citizens but the years of inconvenience we have to suffer for this improvement is a very high price to pay. These improvement works often take years to complete and during this time the quality of life of citizens takes a nosedive. How many years have we been waiting for the work on Eleftheria Square to be completed? The adjacent Homer Avenue has been closed for about two years, causing traffic chaos, not to mention the clouds of dust and noise as contractors worked on an underground car park.

And before we have a chance to enjoy the return to normality, the extremely busy Makarios Avenue will be closed, creating new daily traffic chaos in the centre of town. Once this is completed, work will begin on Evagoras Avenue which runs up to the old GSP stadium that has been turned into a giant car-park for ministry of finance and Thoc employees. And at some point, another underground car park will be built on the site of the old stadium while above there will be a green area and open-air amphitheatre, according to the latest plans.

How many more years will people have to wait for their quality of life to be improved? The idea that this can only be enhanced through construction work is rather suspect but it has become the norm among our policy- and decision-makers. As for the multi-storey, underground car-parks, is that the way to reduce car traffic and pollution in the centre of town, which is an objective of the Nicosia mayor, and encourage people to use public transport? This is another, although related, matter.

We are certain the roads, pavements and facilities for pedestrians will be greatly improved when all the work is finished in two or three or five years. But we will suffer a lot of inconvenience and our ability to enjoy the centre of town will be restricted until that happy day arrives. For this reason, the municipality should consider giving the capital’s residents and visitors a break. Postpone the work scheduled to begin in a few weeks, for three to six months so people can experience for a while what it is like to move in the centre without obstacles, diversions and dust everywhere. People deserve a break. It will make no difference if the work finishes three months behind schedule.

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