Sliema is well-known for its lack of parking spaces, and even outside of the bustling hub the conflict between on-street parking spaces and aesthetically pleasing and accessible public space remains relevant.
That’s why the Transport Ministry’s plan to embellish the Annunciation Square in Sliema was a bold one.
What used to be a two-way road with parking spaces turned into a one-way street with an interesting design of coloured pavement and a LED street-lighting system. Though it won’t fully become a pedestrian square, air pollution and traffic congestion in the area will be reduced significantly.
But that comes at a cost: embellishing the square means the loss of 12 parking spaces in the already parking-starved Sliema.
However, it seems like residents are loving the makeover. Works have carried on for over a year, and as someone shared a photo of what it looks like at the moment in the Sliema residents Facebook group, the overwhelming majority of Sliemizi responded positively.
“Truly a work of art, well done!” a woman said. “So beautiful – worth the wait” another commented. “Absolutely stunning,” someone else added.
There was a healthy dose of scepticism, however. “It’s a real pity that in a couple of weeks this square will be covered in parked cars, oil spills and tire stains,” one resident said.
“Such a piazza doesn’t deserve to be covered in cars,” another agreed. “A few trees and seating would turn this into a beautiful public space.”
“Imagine a few planters, a couple of trees, and a bench or two. It would really embellish the area especially with those beautiful buildings around. And yes, I’m saying this despite the fact I live in the area AND I also drive.”
Sliema’s Local Councillor John Pillow came to the rescue. “It’s absolutely lovely,” he said. “I will propose that it’ll be car-free on the weekends with no parking allowed.”
Perhaps this will be a step in the direction of a more car-free Malta.
Would you like to see more public areas in your locality?