The Malta Independent 18 July 2024, Thursday
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Chamber of Architects proposes new Msida creek plans envisioning green space, removal of flyovers

Sunday, 23 June 2024, 12:38 Last update: about 24 days ago

The Chamber of Architects on Sunday unveiled new conceptual plans for the junction at Msida creek, which is set to see two flyovers built across it as part of Infrastructure Malta plans.

In a statement, the Chamber said that the proposal, drafted in collaboration with Periti Studio and designprinciple, addresses concerns about Infrastructure Malta’s current plans for Msida creek, which it said was dominated by new roads and flyovers which would increase traffic flow through Msida.

The Chamber observed that Infrastructure Malta’s project, which was approved by the PA late last year, aims to construct two 175-meter-long flyovers, with the objective of significantly increase the junction’s current capacity of over 4,500 vehicles per hour

“The IM proposal focuses on increasing vehicle throughput, radically contrasting with the international trend to remove motorways from city centres,” the Chamber said.

It noted that there have been a number of successful international urban transformations over the years, some of which include in 2019 Düsseldorf, Germany, where major roads were relocated underground, creating a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly environment in the old town and shopping areas; in 2020 Utrecht, Netherlands, where the restoration of the Catharijnesingel canal prioritized pedestrians and cyclists, reconnecting the area with Zocherpark and improving public space and biodiversity and in 2021 in Toulouse, France where the renovation of Daurade Port resulted in lush green spaces, enhancing the area’s appeal and ecological health.

“In line with international best practice, the Kamra’s proposal seeks to strike a more sustainable balance between the competing interests and users. Transport infrastructural needs are still met through its proposal, arguably more effectively, while also enhancing the local community’s quality of life,” the Chamber said.

“The Kamra’s vision is to transform Msida’s core into a 20,000 square metre park, providing the densely-populated local community a much-needed public space for leisure and recreation. The proposal also reorganises two other junctions in the area such that the transport needs are concurrently addressed,” it added.

The Chamber said that its proposal aligns with European Commission’s sustainability policies and climate targets such as Fit455, Green Deal, New European Bauhaus, and the Commission’s repeated recommendations under the European Semester process. “It is indeed unfortunate that Malta is the only EU member state that saw an increase in transport-related emissions since 2005,” it said.

“Transforming Msida into a vibrant, people-centred, sustainable town, reflecting our broader vision for sustainable development in Malta. By prioritising public open space and accommodating various modes of transport, we can enhance the quality of life for our community and set a benchmark for future urban development., Perit Andre Pizzuto, President, Kamra Tal-Periti said.

The new proposal aims to redirect traffic away from Msida, prioritize public transport routes with dedicated cycle lanes and freeing up space for urban greening. “This reimagined area would significantly improve air quality, conserve the environment, and stimulate the local economy,” the Chamber said.

The proposal includes the preservation of an uninterrupted public open space from Msida church to the newly proposed bus lanes, creating approximately 20,000 square meters of public open space and woodland; and that vehicular traffic will be diverted to the existing junction at the end of Valley Road, making it the primary North bound route to and from Valletta.

It also envisages the creation of two-way dedicated bus lanes throughout; a dedicated bus lane from Msida to University skatepark; and uninterrupted two-way single carriageway for private vehicles in Msida with traffic lights only for pedestrian crossings.

Perit Nicholas Mallia, one of the architects behind the redesign, stated that “our proposal reimagines Msida as a pedestrian-friendly, green space that improves air quality and offers a higher quality of life for its residents. This is about creating a sustainable future for Malta, one that prioritizes people over cars.”

The Chamber said that it is committed to promoting thoughtful urban development, influencing government decisions, and educating the public on sustainable town-centre strategies. “This proposal is a significant step towards making Malta more environmentally sustainable for future generations,” it said.

Pizzuto also stated that “we look forward to discussing our proposals with the government, the opposition, the newly elected Local Council of Msida, and any other interested parties. It is not too late to revise the project to better serve the public good.”

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