A number of businesses in Makarios Avenue have shut down and many have moved from the area, due to the problems caused by the roadworks, a spokeswoman for businesses on the avenue said on Friday.
The comments followed on from a discussion on the issue at the House transport committee on Thursday.
“This street that we’ve painted two bus lanes on, turned into a one-way road and called a sustainable mobility project is exactly the opposite. It doesn’t help people or achieve its own goals,” Marilena Ieromonachou, representing the businesses, told Sigmalive.
The decision to make the street one-way has caused incredible congestion and customers are no longer bothered to deal with the traffic congestion in the area, she added.
Vehicles end up going through Kallipolleos Avenue but that is not a sustainable solution as it is a narrow road, which can’t really fit many cars, she noted.
“If solutions can be found, albeit temporary ones for this one-kilometre stretch of a one-way road, it would be a huge improvement.”
Another business owner said they lost 50 per cent of their business. “We were told it would be temporary. We’re seven months counting and the situation is getting even worse.”
The affected group of businesses were in parliament on Thursday where they urged authorities to rethink and revise the new traffic system in the area – but officials slammed the door shut on the idea and denied that the environmental project had backfired.
Bureaucrats from the transport ministry responded that the one-way system implemented on that section of the avenue was a commitment made to the European Union, which financed the ‘sustainable mobility’ project. Additionally, every three months Cypriot authorities must report to the EU carbon dioxide measurements taken in the area.
The businesses were told that there was a “new pan-European order of things” now and that “the privileges enjoyed by private cars must end”.
The section of Makarios Avenue – from the Landmark Nicosia (formerly the Hilton hotel) to the traffic lights at the Lykavitos police station is open only to one-way traffic.
Moreover, in late October the lower section of the avenue opened as a “shared space” for pedestrians and authorised vehicles such as buses, taxis and delivery vehicles, in what the municipality hopes will lead to more environmentally-friendly use of the road.
The plan is to create emissions-free areas in the capital.