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From Parking Lot To Public Square: The On-Going Makeover Of Sliema’s Annunciation Square

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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?

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Belle dives deep into seas and stories. She’s passionate about mental health, environmental sustainability and social justice. When she’s not out and about with her dog, she’s more than happy to hear from you on Instagram @belledejong or at [email protected]

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