Source: Kathimerini Cyprus
On October 20, the initial traffic plan for Makarios III Avenue in Nicosia goes into effect, allowing public transportation, catering vehicles, police and fire engines, as well as shopkeepers and residents, while prohibiting the movement of other vehicles. This is a concerning development for the avenue's shopkeepers, who believe that the ban on vehicle passage will reduce foot traffic on the avenue, resulting in fewer customers, and harming the commercial viability of all the shops in the area. As a result, they have spent the last few months collecting signatures and attempting to provide specific suggestions for traffic regulations in the area, but without success.
The Scientific Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK) issued a statement welcoming the implementation of the initial traffic plan on Makarios III Avenue in Nicosia, and urging the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Works to expedite the procedures for the promotion and adoption of legislation allowing the operation of the automatic access control system on the avenue.
ETEC expresses its delight and welcomes the Municipal Council's decision to reinstate the original plans for Makarios III Avenue in Nicosia. According to information obtained by the Chamber from the Nicosia Municipality, starting October 20, 2022, only public transportation, catering vehicles, police, fire engines, and other emergency vehicles, as well as parking permit holders, will be permitted to circulate (shopkeepers - residents). Since the completion of the road reconfiguration in November 2021, ETEK has had a standing request for the above.
It should be noted that the original design of the section of Makarios Ave between the junctions with Spyros Kyprianou and Digeni Akrita avenues and the junction with Omirou Avenue was to pedestrianize the avenue with mixed use by buses, by constructing wide sidewalks and a road with two-way bus lanes. Following the completion of the Makarios Avenue works, the Nicosia Municipal Council decided that other traffic arrangements, including one-way traffic on the aforementioned section of Makarios Ave and private vehicle movement, would be temporarily in place. ETEK stated in November 2021 that the initial regulation deviated from the provisions of the Nicosia Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP), as well as the principles of sustainable mobility and the modern design of road networks in urban centers in general.
At the same time, the Chamber urges the competent Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Works, which took the lead in implementing the initial plans for Makarios Avenue, to expedite the procedures for the promotion and adoption of legislation that will allow the operation of the automatic access control system on the avenue, because the system cannot be implemented while it is available. The system in question is expected to improve the implementation of decisions made as well as the public's sense of security for unhindered movement. Otherwise, the above-mentioned decisions will be jeopardized, and there is a risk of illegalities.
In a statement, ETEK President Constantinos Constantis welcomed the Nicosia Municipality's decision, which will significantly help bus routes and thus the operation of public transportation within the city center. "It is a significant step," he added, "to emulate other European countries that, by redeveloping urban city centers, are reducing the use of the private car through the promotion of active transportation, particularly walking, cycling, and the use of public transportation over the use of the private car." We hope that this decision will serve as a model for other cities and will mark the beginning of our town centers' efforts to improve the quality of life for all of us by creating a cleaner environment free of exhaust fumes and pollutants and attracting our fellow citizens without the inconvenience and stress of traffic. The development of infrastructure to encourage the use of public transportation will also contribute significantly to achieving this goal.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]