The Malta Independent 30 September 2022, Friday
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Lack of commitment by government toward safer roads for all - ADPD

Thursday, 22 September 2022, 12:43 Last update: about 7 days ago

During this European Mobility Week ADPS cannot fail to emphasise government’s lack of commitment towards a serious policy to give the roads back to the people by rendering them safer and ensuring effective clean and sustainable mobility.

ADPD – The Green Party Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo added that instead of strategies that seek to contain car use, this country has had successive governments encouraging over many years private vehicle use, while discouraging pedestrians and alternative means of transport off the road. Indeed even Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia declared his skewed vision that roads were there for cars – others will have to make do somehow! PLPN politicians have repeatedly chosen to uproot trees and cover arable land over with concrete to accommodate more and more cars.

Permits for new petrol stations have been continued to be issued galore and farmers have been banished from their fields. Temporary benefits have been prioritized over our health: the choice for traffic, pollution and the resulting anxiety instead of open spaces and pedestrianised roads.

ADPD – The Green Party Deputy Secretary General Mark Zerafa emphasized that private vehicles are a source of continuous pollution. “This type of pollution has been related to the increased incidence of chronic disease and respiratory conditions, while the continuous  traffic noise is detrimental to our mental health. In addition traffic fatalities are on the increase.”

“Car emissions also contribute to climate change. This is an emergency situation: there is no time for delayed action. It is imperative that we all pull up our socks and contain such emissions to meet international targets and obligations. The use of electric vehicles is not enough. Such vehicles are only emission-free if they are powered by renewable energy.”

“There is the need for our mobility to become more sustainable. Malta and Gozo are small islands: everywhere is within easy reach. It is estimated that half of the trips carried out by private vehicles are for a 15 minute duration, or less. In most instances it should be possible to walk or bike over such short distances. There is the need to encourage bike use including pedelecs and scooters not just through empty words but by creating the right infrastructure. Bicycle lanes should by set up wherever possible, especially in main roads to render bike use as safe as possible. The grants towards the purchase of bikes are commendable but if our roads are going to remain dangerous there will be limited increase in the use of alternative means of transport.”

“The announcement in last budget that public transport will become free is a step in the right direction. However, one must understand also what is hindering many not to make frequent use of such a service. We are all in a hurry and few are those who can afford the luxury of waiting on a bus stop for a long time. There is the need for buses to become more frequent and punctual; with routes that spread out across the country and a country-wide Bus Rapid Transit system. Public transport should be prioritized on our roads.”

While during this week may European Union countries organized educational activities to promote alternative means of transport, in Malta we were served the usual rhetoric of empty words because the much-needed changes that benefit our health and the environment we live in are either not implemented or else are half-baked measures.

 

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