I have read with interest the rigmarole concocted by the residents of the Attard conurbation in response to the government €55 million investment to address the traffic demand in this central link from Mdina to Mriehel Bypass. An article featured in The Sunday Times, ‘Central Link: The Best Solution’, on the 22nd July 2018 by Ing Fredrick Azzopardi, CEO for Infrastructure Malta, clearly outlined the technical detail on which the designs for this Central Link Project were based whereby cultural, environmental, social and economic factors were included in the traffic analysis to give a holistic approach to road design. The analysis also showed that if the road network in the area were to remain as it is now, the traffic demand would result in a 250% increase in travelling times and a 300% increase in emissions in the next few years.
Needless to say, even a necessary project which has been delayed for years has been met with objections spurred by members of the opposition who were strategically positioned on front rows in the battlefield against this development. This project has been long been identified as being absolutely necessary for the area however it was only now that the necessary brave decisions were taken for this project to take off. Consultations were held by Infrastructure Malta and, with maturity and goodwill, the layout plans were amended and upgraded taking on board important and relevant issues which were put forward within the scope of constructive criticism. There is adequate provision for pedestrians, the necessary public transport infrastructure has been catered for and the design for cyclist infrastructure was actually carried out hand-in-hand with the cyclists themselves.
Moreover even a nincompoop does not need a brainwave to realize that the roads in the area were as old as the trees which were planted more than fifty years ago. Now how can anybody come to the conclusion that roads which were designed to meet the traffic demand of fifty years ago could ever cater for the traffic demands of today?
It was especially interesting to note the comments made by Profs Maria Attard, notably a geographer and not a Traffic Expert, alias the same person responsible for the design of the Valletta CVA and the ARRIVA public transport system. To date, government is still continuously working to improve the public transport system to ensure that the service addresses the need of the commuters. Also, there has never been more determination to provide for adequate infrastructure for cyclists as there is now where new projects or road upgrades are being equipped with the necessary facilities to ensure safe cycling networks.
And as a concluding note, I would have really wished to know how many of those attending the Attard Residents Environmental Network meeting went to the venue on foot or by bicycle instead of using their private car. Also, how many of them flaunt enormous villas which were constructed on virgin land and with pools pumped full of chlorine.