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Traffic congestion of utmost importance say MPs

traffic web 2

Legislators on Thursday urged government officials to “transition from theory to practice” in dealing with the growing problem of traffic congestion.

The matter was discussed at the House transport committee, attended by officials from the transport ministry, the interior ministry, the police’s traffic department, as well as representatives of municipalities.

Committee chair Marinos Mousiouttas (Dipa) stressed to officials they needed to set both short-term and long-term timetables for actions aimed at tackling traffic jams both inside the cities and on the highways.

“We need to transition from theory to practice,” he remarked.

Speaking to reporters later, the MP said this was the third time the committee was discussing the matter of traffic congestion.

Whereas during previous discussions certain proposals were heard regarding short-term measures, on Thursday it emerged that officials in the various involved departments had nothing concrete to show for.

Mousiouttas asked, for example, what had become of the proposal for ‘smart’ traffic lights, and when this might be implemented. Another issue related to bus lanes – a pilot programme for school students has been launched, but the results have yet to be assessed.

The MP said that the findings of a study had been delivered on Thursday, but that the findings had yet to be discussed with officials.

The study in question has to do with introducing a flexible work timetable for civil servants, so that not all get off work at the same time. Nicosia roads especially get jammed daily in the 3pm to 4pm timeslot when civil servants drive back home en masse.

Back in September, when the same study was mentioned in parliament, an official from the transport ministry said that specific proposals based on it would be drawn up in two months.

“We understand that, with the change in administration, the new government may have new policies. But we tabled the matter for discussion so as to signal to officials that we expect certain recommendations and that the ministers should provide some guidelines soon,” Mousiouttas said.

Another idea heard in September was to combine flexible work hours for civil servants with changes to school timetables, for parents picking up their children.

Also, civil servants who work in a city other than their place of residence, should be afforded the possibility of working from their hometown if their work does not involve direct contact with the public.

During the same session last September, MPs heard from officials about a significant rise in vehicle traffic since 2019 in Nicosia and Limassol. Exacerbating the problem more recently, a number of road works – still ongoing – were launched more or less simultaneously, diverting and concentrating transit to certain roadways.

Special mention had been made to the situation at the entrance to Nicosia – a nightmare for motorists driving into the capital in the morning. Officials said that during the first quarter of 2023 construction will begin on two avenues that will link the GSP stadium to the areas of Lakatamia and Anthoupoli. Once completed, these would divert traffic volume away from the Nicosia entrance.

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