Transport Malta's 'Unpopular But Necessary' Decision In Lija Seems To Have Really Paid Off
Many people have already accepted the trade-off
Over the last couple of days, many people have noted that the latest roadworks in Triq il-Kbira, Lija seem to have really gone a long way to improve traffic flow in the area. This particular project saw a great deal of controversy, particularly due to the chopping down of trees which kicked off the works.
Earlier last month, Transport Malta was widely slammed for chopping down a row of mature holm oak trees in Lija's as part of the roadworks. Hundreds of people online, along with PN environmental spokesman Karol Aquilina, deemed the decision to be "unacceptable", calling for the government to ensure this was not repeated. And while the Environment and Resources Authority said the site was not an Urban Conservation Area and Lija's mayor Magda Magri Naudi ensured everyone that other trees were being planted to make up for the ones being chopped down, the controversy around the project seemed like it would persist. Now, however, it seems like the trade-off, which Transport Malta described as "unpopular but necessary", has at least paid off.
A post on popular Facebook forum The Salott yesterday highlighted this, congratulating Transport Malta for taking the recent controversial decisions. The post also mentions the painting of a continuous double white line and the installation of the orange bollards, which are reportedly already proving very instrumental in reducing collisions and traffic jams.
The post quickly amassed a substantial amount of reactions, and while some comments couldn't help but bring up the destruction of the trees as the means towards the end, others were quick to agree with the original post. "Politics aside, it was the best thing that could have happened," one person said. Another user pointed out that, while it's definitely a pity that the trees were removed from the area, it really does seem like the latest developments have helped to reduce traffic in the normally very busy road.
Triq il-Kbira sees some 2,400 vehicles during morning and evening rush hours, and increasing traffic jams lead to the decision to widen sections of the road. Last week, during a press conference announcing the partial opening of the Kappara Junction, Transport Minister Ian Borg had explained that the controversial decision was "necessary in order for this road to be appropriately equipped for the large influx of traffic it sees every day".
Photo by DOI (Omar Camilleri)
Even though the decision to install the bollards is currently being hailed as one of the most instrumental in solving traffic in the area, it seems like a handful of drivers are flat-out ignoring the road's new rules.
One particular user has already uploaded a couple of videos on YouTube of people trying to cross the whole road in places where they specifically shouldn't, and as predicted, it's classic #OnlyInMalta material.
UPDATE: The original Facebook post mentioned in this article has since been removed for unknown reasons.