Traffic has always been a contentious issue in Malta, even more so in the last years where the perception of traffic (unlike some politicians who told us otherwise) has dramatically increased. Longer waiting times, chaos coupled with good old honking and aggressiveness on the roads have made the traffic issue a hot topic.
This has been an issue that many governments have ignored or have not taken too seriously and traffic now is a dominant issue in political circles (end of 2015). A number of reasons highlighted before is the design of the roads – many were unfortunately designed by the British in the 1960’s and have not been constructed to handle traffic 50 years later – though independent Malta has made leaps in opening ‘highways’, junctions, tunnels etc, many of Malta’s urban centres clog due to the retro design at present. This of course can never be changed as it will cause hardship in widening or modernizing roads at the expense of taking peoples’ property; which is immoral and illegal. So the viable solution: is a good public transport system that meets the needs of the Maltese islands and todays’ traffic and challenges on the road. Increasing bus stops in areas of commerce, increasing more specific routes and creating more minibus terminal or venda tal-linja in busy areas. As ADŻ, we welcome the investment in water transportation – connecting via ferry the Valletta, Cottonera and the Sliema, St Julians areas – and we hope this will be a success and that education & promotion of such a system will greatly improve the flow of people wanting to reach from A to B easier and quicker and reducing the current traffic load on the roads. We also welcome the newly announced projects for a Marsa bypass/junction system and the newly proposed San Gwann flyover which will definitely help the flow of traffic and minimize collisions and problems.
For future projects, we welcome plans for a monorail system, more MCPs (multicar park systems) in urban areas and even the possibility of an underground subway connecting the busy areas of our islands. We also would like to see an improvement in the current infrastructure – smoother roads with less potholes, better signage, lighting and even spot on checks by traffic police to curb unruly drivers and unlicensed vehicles. Though we welcome the ‘greenification of roundabouts’, we would like to see more planting of trees in urban roads and greener central strips.
So much can be done to improve the traffic system – but one thing we have to keep in mind is the car culture that dominated our population: the car, the rite of passage, manhood etc; everything associated with owning a car is prevalent and a reality. However this reality can be changed if riding a bus, using monorails, subways etc is seen as ‘cooler’, this car culture can slowly change by education and offering a better alternative. We ask the Government to start consultations with the public on how we can improve and invest into a modern transportation system. We achieved so much in 51 years of independence, why stop here?
ADŻ Malta Green Youth PRO