Cyprus Mail

Limassol drivers ‘trapped in their cars’

limassol traffic
Traffic on the Limassol highway

If the ongoing traffic issues in Limassol are not properly addressed, people’s quality of life “will deteriorate very quickly,” Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the For Limassol conference at Frederick University, where he stressed the need to study the challenges posed by the recent significant development of the city.

Vafeades reiterated the importance of implementing the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan by 2026.

“However, with the projected pace of development in Limassol, the plan alone will not suffice,” he said. “We need to implement it and do even more.

“Until the implementation of the plan, temporary measures must be taken, as the traffic problem persists and people are essentially trapped in their cars,” the transport minister said.

He mentioned the Park & Ride service implemented in Nicosia and expressed the ministry’s intention to provide a similar service in Limassol.

“We intend to operate various Park & Ride schemes, hopefully by the end of the month, along the highway, at city entrances, and at the beginning of axes leading to the city, aiming to remove cars before they enter the urban centre,” Vafeades said.

Several locations for Park & Ride areas have already been identified, with efforts underway to locate additional spaces north of the highway.

“However, the measures may not yield the same success as in Nicosia due to the inability to construct bus lanes, which would provide faster routes than private cars.

“However, for the moment we can meet our need to remove cars from the roads by providing express bus services for intercity routes, with reduced stops and therefore shorter travel times.”

Vafeades also expressed hope that increasing numbers of bus users can be achieved through enhancing the overall passenger experience with new bus stops and electronic boards.

He added that tenders for the installation of smart traffic lights are expected by early May, aiming to have them installed before the end of the year.

The minister also addressed the need for long-term solutions in urban planning, presenting data projecting worsening traffic congestion in Limassol over the next five to 10 years.

“We must start thinking about solutions to help Limassol develop and manage problems that we can reasonably foresee today,” Vafeades said, adding that the ministry’s contribution is to strengthen public transportation as much as possible “with solutions that serve a large population quickly, easily and ecologically.”

He also mentioned delays in the construction of the northern bypass due to significant technical challenges from altitude differences.

“We are also considering the idea of a new highway passing north of Limassol, which would also help mountainous communities get better access to the city, while potentially alleviating traffic congestion,” he concluded.

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