The Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber (ETEK) came out swinging on Tuesday as reports indicated that Nicosia’s Makarios Avenue may, despite initial plans, be accessible to private cars.

Makarios Avenue is set to be reopened to the public on December 7 but there has still been no official announcement as to whether private cars will be permitted.

In an announcement on Tuesday, ETEK reiterated that the initial design set out that key sections would be pedestrianised and bus lanes would flow in both directions.

ETEK cited recent publications as stating that a proposal was sent to the Nicosia municipal council which calls for Makarios Avenue to become a one-way street and for private cars to gain access.

Local media reported that the initial plan set out for only buses and drivers who either live or work in the area to have access.

But it is understood that another proposal has been put forward which seeks to make parts of Makarios Avenue one way – from the Spyros Kyprianou entrance to Evagorou street.

Under such a scenario, traffic would flow in one direction while one lane would be reserved for buses and the other for private vehicles – regardless of whether the drivers live or work in the area.

The group strongly criticised the proposal, stating that it goes against the Nicosia Integrated Mobility Plan – which aims to promote sustainable transport while reducing traffic and carbon dioxide emissions.

ETEK also slammed the recent proposal as the group said it will prevent bus lanes from flowing in both directions, significantly reducing the effectiveness and viability of buses as a modern mode of transport.

Unless bus lanes flow in both directions along Makarios Avenue, then key networks in the city centre will be lost, the group said.

“It is worth noting that in many European nations, the renovation of city centres is done on the basis of reducing access to private vehicles to promote active movement, in particular walking, cycling and use of public transport,” ETEK said.