“You cannot build your way out of congestion. It is like dealing with obesity by loosening your belt” – (Lewis Mumford 1955)
The number of vehicles on Malta’s roads is steadily increasing and continues to dramatically exceed the growth of the roads infrastructure thereby escalating congestion.
This negatively affects our lives in many ways – increasing pollution, physical and mental health risks and increasing economic cost through the waste of productive time and fuel – in short, a downturn for our wellbeing.
Successive governments have touted roadwork congestion relief as a solution when all they are doing is creating what traffic planners call “induced demand” for more vehicles on our roads.
PD believes that the current and envisaged programme of road upgrade/ repair , as much as it may be deemed necessary , still belies a preference to prioritise cars over all other means of transport. The senseless issue of new permits for fuel stations is a further step towards this culture. Projects being proposed and carried out in sensitive areas such as Paceville are only increasing the problem. There is no holistic Masterplan and development is carried out against without consideration FOR the wellbeing of the population.
Public and other green /health transport systems are not being prioritised. Roads are being widened at the expense of pavements in the misguided attempt to reduce congestion. This will only be detrimental to more environmentally friendly methods of personal mobility such as use of motorcycles, bicycles, scooters or walking.
Government is insisting on BUILDING the roads infrastructure that may have suited us yesterday when we REALLY need to understand and construct the roads of tomorrow.
The main tenets of PDs traffic policy are the following:
- Driving a reduction in the number of cars on our roads and giving our town and village cores back to the people through an greener infrastructure that includes the pedestrianisation of such cores
- Improving the public transport system thereby decreasing road congestion, thus giving it more space to operate
- A focus on personal mobility to encourage people to use healthier modes of travel in an environment which is conducive to better well being
In the coming weeks PD will be looking at a series of proposals to pave the way forward for short term and medium term solutions. We will look at a vision for the future which would embrace concepts that will steer the population and its lifestyle away from the current car culture towards a healthier and more efficient approach.