Rota is reacting to the claims1 made by Infrastructure Malta on the 19th of December 2020, whereby it stated that “additional land is also required for a new cycle lane and footpath along the same Bypass, which does not currently have any facilities for alternative modes of travel. “
On the 22nd of October, Infrastructure Malta had shown the proposed plans of the Mrieħel flyover with the cycle lane on the side of the industrial estate and residential area, to representatives of Rota. At the time, no additional land take-up was mentioned. Rota had suggested several proposals to ensure that the cycling connections between Qormi and Mrieħel would remain accessible and rendered safe. Moreover, Rota suggested that the proposed roundabout design would prioritise pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
Unfortunately, a few weeks later, on the 16th of November, Rota was informed by Infrastructure Malta that the cycle lane was to be removed from the inner side, and against Rota’s advice, redesigned on the periphery next to the fields. Rota had then informed Infrastructure Malta that this proposal was unacceptable as it would become useless and unsafe for people travelling by bicycles.
Even during discussions with Infrastructure Malta about the Central Link Project, Rota had highlighted several existing rural roads in Qormi valley such as Triq il-Belt Valletta, Triq il-Ħofor, and Triq Hannibal (the latter of which has seen its access to Attard closed off for cyclists), without taking any additional agricultural land.
Following this, it has unfortunately become clear that Infrastructure Malta is only using cycling infrastructure as a pretext to take up more land for road widening without considering the needs of the users for this infrastructure. As the image below shows, there is enough space to create safe cycling infrastructure without taking up additional land.
Rota reiterates that cycling infrastructure is to be as safe, convenient and direct as possible, and what has been designed by Infrastructure Malta falls short of reaching these required attributes.
This PR was written by Rota
P.O. Box 38, Maltapost Branch, Triq il-Ferrovija, Ħamrun, ĦMR 1000, Malta