Earlier on in the year, current Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Minister Ian Borg revealed a plan for a set of two 175-metre long flyovers for the Msida junction, which will possibly solve the traffic problem surrounding the area which is used by more than 4,500 cars every hour.
Msida is seen as the town that connects the centre of Malta with the rest of the country, with it being the most popular passageway to places such as Sliema and Gżira.
The flyovers are planned to join Triq il-Marina, Triq il-Wied tal-Imsida and Triq Mikiel Anton Vassalli together, thus reducing the need of traffic lights in the area. This will immensely help move traffic on during the peak hours, with the junction being congested more often than not through the current traffic lights system.
Speaking to Maltawinds on the project, Instrastructure Malta stated that this project will include a complete “redesign and reconstruction of the traffic lights junction connecting Triq il-Marina (to and from Sa Maison and Valletta), Triq il-Wied tal-Imsida and Triq Mikiel Anton Vassalli (to and from the Tal-Qroqq Skatepark roundabout,” and apart from this, there will also be the “upgrading of a number of nearby junctions with other roads leading to and from Gżira, Sliema and Ta’ Xbiex.”
Minister Borg during the announcement said that this project “will mitigate a great inconvenience for residents, businesses, which will improve the flow of public transport passing through and which will facilitate the lives of many students using this road.”
Infrastructure Malta told Maltwinds that “Once the final plans are compiled, the agency will be in a position to confirm the estimate cost of the project”.
Apart from the construction of the flyovers, the project also contains two pedestrian bridges which will replace the existing pelican crossings, an open area close to the Workers Memorial being revamped, upgrades to other roads in the area, and also the creation of 100 new parking spots in the area. Most importantly, this parking area will not have any payment schemes.
Parking has always been a problem in Msida, with a total of 367 parking spaces not being catered for by the permits that the Planning Authority had approved for development last year.
This means that plenty of residents in the area are being left without a parking spot that is solely dedicated to them, forcing them to take up other parking spots, if there are any available.
Apart from this, plenty of residents opt to take up parking spaces by leaving their car outside instead of their garage, which means that if other cars of the same family need to park, they are forced to take up another parking space, rather than utilising the one in front of the family’s garage.
What is of deep concern is the harbour at Msida, home to plenty of yachts owned by people that do not live in Imsida. It seems that plenty of yacht owners travel to the dock by car, and then go on a trip on their own yacht, often staying for more than one day. This leads to the parking spots that were initially created for people that frequent Msida on a regular basis, to be used by people that will leave their car there for a very long period, thus taking up the parking spaces of those that really need it on a regular basis.
Infrastructure Malta did not comment on this matter.
The implementation of this parking area is the prime example of what needs to be done in order to reduce the problem that Malta has when it comes to there being no places to park, due to the increasing number of vehicles. According to statistics published by the National Statistics Office, as of 2018 there are a total of 385,326 licensed vehicles, with 28,497 newly licensed vehicles in 2018 alone. This was the largest yearly increase in car registrations since 2000.
What is even more shocking is that according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics body, Malta was ranked as the third highest when it comes to the number of cars per 1000 inhabitants in the European Union in a set of statistics that was published in 2018. With 615 passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants, Malta came third to only Italy (625 cars per 1000 inhabitants) and Luxembourg (662 cars per 1000 inhabitants).
With almost every member of a Maltese family owning a car nowadays, this problem will only get worse as Malta’s population grows more and more. The harsh reality is that parking spaces are already very limited, and if we keep on adding more cars, such space will obviously run out in the long-run.
Yes, this project will ease the flow of around 4,500 vehicles every hour, but such a project will only overshadow the real problem that Malta has, an overpopulation of vehicles.