ADPD – The Green Party said that Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia was promoting a failed transport policy of the 60s and 70s when prioritizing cars over bicycles.
Earlier in the week, Farrugia said that the government’s priority was to make roads safer and more efficient for cars, and not for bicycles.
ADPD Secretary General Ralph Cassar said it was “absolutely false” that the construction of more flyovers and the road widening would lead to more mobility efficiency.
“Mobility efficiency in 2022 means safer urban roads, with less traffic, more pedestrianized areas and roads reserved for public transport and alternative means such as bikes and pedelecs, bicycle super-highways that connect post-secondary education institutions with the towns and villages surrounding them , safer roads around schools and a Bus Rapid Transit system along the main roads.”
Cassar said that Malta should be aiming towards having large car-free areas, with large chunks of space currently dedicated to cars, returned to the public, bikes and public transport.
“This is what our quality of life deserves – otherwise we will remain the country that lacks appeal and where everything goes,” Cassar said.
He said that transport is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions and other dangerous pollutants in Malta, with half the energy consumption currently used for transport.
Cassar said this was a result of successive governments whose policy was focused on the use of private vehicles, despite the short travel distances in Malta.
“As in many other cases the Government’s rhetoric on climate emergency does not translate into action. In the transport sector the government is actually working against the climate, against the environment and against the real citizen’s interests,” Cassar concluded.
ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said that the fact that according to the National Master Plan 2025, half of all car trips in Malta were of less than 15 minutes, should make it easier to encourage alternative means of transport.
“The roads belong to all and should be designed to give due space to those who at the moment are barred from our dangerous roads,” Cacopardo said.
He said that the government was ignoring the masterplan recommendations, by not creating bus corridors and not allocating more space for public transport on the roads.
“The masterplan document states loud and clear: ‘data shows that about 50% of trips are under 15 minutes illustrating that mobility is produced at a local level on very short paths. This, therefore, creates the opportunity to increase the modal share for walking and cycling.
“It is the action that is lacking due to the massive obstacle put forward by politicians over the years that have failed to lead a policy of change, reforming our transport and roads sector. Politicians that have been promoting private car travel and badly designed roads instead of pushing for alternative and cheaper means of transport.”
Cacopardo added that these policies were a result of a parliamentary system dominated by two parties, saying that a plurality of voices in parliament was required to overcome the status quo.