Drastic works and measures need to be implemented to solve the Limassol’s congestion problems, Mayor Nicos Nicolaides said.
The mayor was speaking on Monday at the third and last round of consultations with the public, during which the scientific and technical advisory chamber (Etek) presented results from two participatory workshops, as well as from a public questionnaire answered by 1045 people.
The pedestrianising of Anexartisias Street, Nicolaides reminded attendees, is part of the Sustainable Urban Mobility plan, the implementation of which would be “drastic, disruptive [would] make our lives difficult, [and] cause reactions,” the mayor said, but was nonetheless “absolutely necessary”.
The difficult but necessary measures are to be introduced so as not to bequeath the problem of congestion to future generations, Nicolaides said, stating “we must not and will not let the traffic drown our city.”
Anexartisias Street is one of the most important commercial thoroughfares in Limassol and its pedestrianisation would inevitably have effects of economic, social, and environmental nature on the city centre and its surrounds, the mayor said.
The anticipated change is first essential step in creating “a different perception about city traffic”, Nicolaides added.
Securing ‘Park & Ride’ spaces, the mayor detailed, is the key for the success of public transport–and this in turn is the key for solving the traffic problem.
The two public workshops and the questionnaire were carried out in order for a proper recording of the views of the public to exist and is independent of final decisions on the proposed works, engineer, Gregoris Kalnis, who presented the findings, stated.
Participants expressed views upholding the need for safe accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as the need to reduce car traffic and air pollution, however, only five of 1045 participants in the questionnaire chose mass transportation as a solution. The vast majority (75.1 per cent) chose the car as their preferred means of transport.
In a question asking what they would change, 19 per cent of respondents answered the pedestrianisation of Anexartisias Street, 17 per cent suggested increasing greenery, and 11 per cent said increasing parking.
In a question on what they would like the municipality to take into account for the next planning stage, 15 per cent chose “safety, comfort, and accessibility for pedestrians and the disabled”, while 12 per cent said, “pedestrians and the creation of bike paths”. Tree planting and shading, were mentioned by 12 per cent of respondents, while 8 per cent mentioned an increase of organised parking lots.
The presentation was followed by a discussion during which some attendees expressed concern over the municipality’s intention to pedestrianise Anexartisias Street, particularly residents of the area, who worried that access to their homes would become problematic.