Nicosia’s former main shopping street to be finished in time for Christmas
The long-long-awaited revamp of Nicosia’s Makarios Avenue is set to be completed on December 7, but a key question remains unanswered. With just over a month to go, will it be a one-way or a two-way street?
Wrangling between the transport ministry and Nicosia municipality has led to a key component of what was once, at least, one of the capital’s main traffic arteries remaining unclear.
There had been initial proposals for the entire avenue to be pedestrianised, with others offering that only buses should be permitted access. But the final tussle appears to be over whether to make it a one-way or a normal two-way street.
A source from the transport ministry however told the Sunday Mail this week that there is still a strong push for the one-way street proposal, with access granted only to buses and some vehicles which have ‘business’ in the area – such as delivery trucks. The source said that this is currently the most likely scenario.
The transport ministry referred us to the Nicosia municipality, which in turn told us that: “This is a political decision, but a decision has not yet been reached… we may have input on the issue, but it is clearly a political choice to be made.”
The issue has seemingly become a hot potato, with officials from various departments referring to the other as having the final say. Even if a final decision has been taken internally, it has not yet been announced publicly.
Whatever the final outcome, the revamp of the former high-street shopping centre is sure to be a boon for businesses in the area. Empty shops now line the avenue, a legacy of the rise of shopping malls, the re-emergence of the old city’s Ledra Street as a retail centre and most recently the disruption caused by the extensive roadworks.
With the avenue set to reopen in time for the festive season, the municipality hopes that what was once a major centre for Christmas shopping can be revived. The Nicosia municipality told the newspaper that there are also plans for Christmas stalls to populate the new vastly expanded pavements.
Makarios avenue is not the only area in the city hoping for a Christmas revival. After several years of being out in Strovolos, the annual Christmas fair (Paramythoupoli) with amusement rides, stalls and ice-skating rink is returning to its original home in the moat of the walled city.
While the fair’s return will be welcomed by many, it will mean increased pressure on parking as the fair will be partly located in the Davila parking area which will remain closed to cars between November 10 and January 19, 2022.
The increased pressure on parking and traffic congestion has already been the source of comments on social media, especially as renovation works are due to begin next week at the old GSP stadium nearby which has also been used as a parking area for hundreds of vehicles.
The stadium will remain closed for two years during the works, starting from November 10, the municipality said.
The municipality apologised for any inconvenience, saying that the project “is extremely important for our city”.
According to the municipality, the approximately €20m revamp will include an urban square, green spaces, recreation areas and underground parking for 570 vehicles.
Municipal officials have pointed towards newly upgraded or installed parking locations such as the underground lot in Omirou Avenue (near Eleftheria Square) and the four new areas near Ochi roundabout.