We have carefully read your editorial “Nicosia’s pavement plan falls short for some” (Cyprus Mail, April 28), in which you question the municipality’s policy to proceed with the creation of pavements and expressing reservations as to their usefulness because in certain areas they are slightly narrower and most just seem to facilitate illegal parking.
The municipality’s decision to proceed with these types of projects arises from:
· the need to create a network of pavements that maximises connectivity for residents in their neighbourhood. Also these pavements are linked to those of main commercial avenues (such as Kyriakou Matsi, Kallipoleos, Metochiou, Makariou), thus offering residents the option to reach essential destinations on foot,
· the need to install rainwater drainage infrastructure below ground to prevent flooding and property damage,
· and, where possible, to create street parking.
Ultimately, these works also contribute to a more uniform cityscape.
Certainly, there may indeed exist instances, albeit a few, where the space does not allow the creation of a wide enough pavement. This may happen for a number of reasons, most notably, the width of a street caused by the presence of buildings but also the traffic patterns and volumes on a particular street which simply do not favour the conversion of a two-way street to one-way, thus allowing for more space for pavements.
This however does and should not diminish the need to carry out the works. For those few streets are part of a bigger cluster and cannot be excluded because then the neighbourhood’s drainage system network simply would not work.
Nor should the whole project be scrapped because some disrespectful people refuse to comply with the fact that pavements are for pedestrians and not for parking. Our goal should be to change such misguided attitudes and not simply succumb to them.
This is the first step in sustainable mobility in a city that for the most part lacked the infrastructure for walking and cycling, for that matter. A complete network of pavements can make walking an attractive option, the same way that the existence of bicycle lanes does for cycling.
Walking and cycling are the cleanest ways to get around a city and it’s the way forward. And though granted the change may not
happen as quickly as we may wish, it has to start somewhere if we are to shift our decades long culture to a more sustainable model that will benefit the city, its residents and more importantly future generations.
What is certain is that if we do not start somewhere, if we do not start building pavements, bicycle and bus lanes, nothing will change. At least now change may start happening. It is up to all of us.