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Letters • January 25 2004

Myopic views on traffic

Chev Louis Scerri Montaldo
St Paul's Bay

Congratulations to Dr Harry Vassallo’s excellent article entitled "What's this?" in MaltaToday 11 January.
You have expressed what I myself and, most probably, the great majority of Maltese drivers feel.
It is incredible that the same Nationalist Government has such opposing mentalities. During the period when Mr Michael Falzon was minister in charge of roads and constructed the new airport and all the dual carriage-ways (plus the extra-spacious Mriehel dual-carriage-way bye-pass), tunnels, etc..and now the current Nationalist Minister has, instead, embarked on an opposite policy of narrowing the roads, installing numerous roundabouts, constructing cement centre-strips everywhere, jutting out kerb-ends, installing a multiplicity of traffic lights and pelican lights.
The roundabout at tal-Qroqq is the epitome of this ridiculous situation. It was supposed to be of a temporary nature and instead seems to have turned out to be a permanent fixture with the addition of 13 tall trees and some concrete contraption at the centre.
All the traffic lights at this roundabout ensure that cars obstruct the main flow. It is a pity that the minister of tourism does not advertise this surely unique round-about with all its traffic lights as a touristic attraction and that no prize is offered to drivers succeeding in passing 3 consecutive traffic lights at the round-about!
Also what about all the millions of Liri that have been spent during 2 years of work at the new Burmarrad road just to reduce a 4-lane road into a pathetic single-lane each way with a short 100-metre left-lane stretch which is practically forcing motorists to use it as an overtaking lane?
Would it not make sense, for example, to use those millions of Liri to make a dual carriage-way on the coast-road from St. Andrews to St. Paul's Bay to join the bye-pass there and then to continue opening up the way to Cirkewwa to help the voluminous traffic to-and-from Gozo?
Various countries in Europe are making more lanes to help eliminate traffic congestion and expedite traffic. In Italy, for example, the road network from Sicily to the north of Italy is being extended from a 2-lane carriage-way to a 3-lane one. And the same is done in other parts of Europe. Why are we doing the exact opposite in Malta?
But the tragic consequence of this myopic view and attitude from the authorities concerned, as you have so well expounded in your article, results in an ever-growing number of accidents for which nobody is called to account!
Surely the setting up of some kind of motorists' association would surely have a huge voting clout and could exert immense pressure on any government to remedy and to undo this sorry state of affairs. It could sue and hold to account all the officials responsible, up to the very top echelons, for all tragic accidents due to the "laying of the death-traps" which are being presently placed in the path of all the motorists in Malta.


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