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Msida Creek Project, Source: Infrastructure Malta/Ian Borg's Facebook page

Msida Creek Project provokes public outcry

Msida Creek Project provokes public outcry

The plan worth EUR 13, 5 million will replace the traffic lights junction at the heart of Msida with two 175-metre flyovers

Just before Christmas, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg announced that Infrastructure Malta had received 7 bids from Maltese and foreign consortia for the realization of the Msida Creek Project. The plan, unveiled in 2019 and worth EUR 13, 5 million, envisages the traffic lights junction at the heart of the beautiful fishing village to be replaced by two 175-metre flyovers with adjacent pedestrian bridges and recreation areas. The aim, according to the Ministry, is to cut cross traffic and the congestion pollution it creates and regenerate the area.

Cars prioritized over people

Msida Creek Project, however, has been quick in churning up public discontent. Among the most vocal critics is Chamber of Architects President Andre Pizzuto, who described the project as “unsustainable and regressive.” Project opponents are concerned that a call for tenders had been launched even before the planning application was processed or the Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Robert Abela, a coalition of 10 environmental NGOs, architects, economists, archaeologists and planners warned recently that the flyovers dissecting the square will prioritize cars over people and adversely impact the character of the area. The coalition is worried that the lifts and stairs planned to access the bridges above the car traffic will obstruct the movement of cyclists, while penalising persons with reduced mobility, like wheelchair-bound residents, forcing them back to cars as the only possible mode of transportation.

Alternative public transport interchange

The coalition proposed a new, alternative public transport interchange that puts open space, pedestrians and bike use first. Malta Today writes that the centrepiece of the coalition’s proposal is enhancing the pjazza experience by retaining the existing “kiosk areas which are so popular in the summer months, with the sound of tombola numbers echoing in the summer nights”. 

The article was prepared in collaboration with Jim Wightman.

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