The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

Marsalforn’s Menqa area still not pedestrianised, seven months after inauguration

Neil Camilleri Friday, 11 June 2021, 08:16 Last update: about 7 days ago

The regenerated Menqa area in Marsalforn has not yet been pedestrianised, despite promises that this would happen when the project was inaugurated seven months ago.

The €1 million project was inaugurated in early November 2020, with Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri saying back then that the renovated area would be closed off to traffic, with access being given only for those providing a service.

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Yet Transport Malta has failed to actually close off the area – no no-entry signs have been installed, no bollards have been put in place, with the result that this part of the promenade, which has been covered in expensive lava stone, has become a mess of badly parked cars, tyre marks and vehicle oil.

Photos sent in by residents show that some parts of the road are often completely blocked off as a result of double-parking. Vehicles are parked right next to outdoor dining areas, and even on the quay.

Residents have told this newsroom that they were often blocked from using their garages a a result of cars parked in the area. When they complained at the local police station, they were told that no fines could be issued due to the absence of traffic signs.

The Menqa regeneration was part of the wider Marsalforn masterplan, which is still works in progress. The project included the laying of new services and installation of new lighting systems.

Speaking in November, Minister Camilleri had said that, through the project, the government was “urging” the adoption of envronmentally friendly vehicles and a “healthier lifestyle.”

“Access to the promenade will be pedestrianised, with access given only to services vehicles.”

Yet, seven months down the line, the pedestrianisation plans remain only on paper.

Speaking to The Malta Independent, PN minority leader Daniel Cordina said he was “disgusted for many reasons,” not least because the local council was never consulted on the project which falls squarely within the confines of the seaside village.

He said that, after repeated pleas by the council, Transport Malta sent for the councillors around three weeks ago, to discuss the matter.

“There was agreement that the area will be closed off to traffic, and limited access will be given to fishermen using the area, restaurants and residents. The roads will only be open during specific times – from 4am to 11am, and from 5pm to 6pm.”

The council has also suggested that special trolleys are used for restaurant deliveries, which would avoid the use of heavy vehicles on the new paving.

While TM has promised that the area will be closed off to vehicular traffic, no timeframe has been set so far for this to happen. “We are still waiting on TM to actually implement this,” Cordina said, adding that enough time has passed already. “The area has already been dirtied, and this is happening as a result of the dragging of feet.”

 

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