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Architect Shows What Birkirkara Centre Can Look Like If Pedestrians Are Prioritised Over Cars

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What would Birkirkara’s town centre look like if planners gave pedestrians priority over cars?

Architectural designer Alexandra Manché has drafted a concept as a potential alternative to the pedestrian footbridge that Infrastructure Malta recently proposed to replace the pelican crossing in front of the McDonald’s restaurant in Triq il-Wied.

Her proposal maintains two lanes for cars to travel in either direction but adds a traffic island in between and replaces all the parking spaces in the area with pedestrianised zones.

Besides a larger pavement, the design also includes trees surrounded by benches, a new public convenience, and a redesigned stairway above the street.

“Instead of removing traffic from the centre of Birkirkara, Infrastructure Malta proposed pushing pedestrians out and onto a footbridge,” Manché told Lovin Malta.

“Rather than just getting angry about the proposal, I decided to design something to encourage other architects to come up with similar designs to encourage pedestrianization.”

“The idea is that if you give people more space to walk on, pedestrians become more of a priority. Right now, cars are a priority.”

Manché said that while it would be great if Infrastructure Malta picks up her designs, the point of her exercise was to show people how the national infrastructure authority should be thinking.

“It’s not about our designs, but about showing people how our public spaces should look like.”

Infrastructure Malta’s footbridge proposal was subjected to widespread consultation, with the PN’s Birkirkara councillors warning it doesn’t respect the town’s characteristics and will breach urban conservation planning laws.

The infrastructure authority recently shelved its proposal pending further consultation and said it is ready to consider “alternative solutions to improve the safety of this important pedestrian route”.

Do you think the centre of Birkirkara should be more pedestrianised?

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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