Widening more roads will bring no result – Prof. Attard

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Professor Maria Attard has stated that widening roads will bring no result. On the other hand, the Executive Leader of Infrastructure Malta Frederick Azzopardi said that travelling time will decrease.

While talking on the radio station 103, Azzopardi stated that currently, short and medium term plans are being implemented. Professor Maria Attard, the University of Malta’s Director of the Institute of Sustainable Development, added that unfortunately, Malta tends to postpone long term solutions, forcing them in the hands of future generations and authorities. She said that by widening roads, they are being designed solely for cars.

Problematic arterial roads are now being addressed – Azzopardi

Azzopardi explained that there are a number of arterial roads that have been identified as being problematic years ago; such as those in Marsa, Santa Luċija and Paceville. Therefore, he added, they are now being addressed. He said that government together with Transport Malta are working on long term solutions.

Regarding certain criticism which Infrastructure Malta has been receiving, Azzopardi believes that it would currently be in a better position would it have explained its goals and methods better from the start.

Will widening roads increase induced demand of cars?

Attard also talked about the economic concept of induced demand. In this sense, she said that by widening roads and increasing their capacity, this will be a trigger which encourages more people to drive. Therefore, overall road congestion will not decrease, said Attard.

She also described how traffic is a result of people’s activities. As the economy continues to expand, more activities occur and therefore more traffic is created. Attard stated that in some instances, people forget Malta has its limits. She explained that the country needs to control the situation now, as our dependence on cars is leaving a negative effect on public health.

Azzopardi said that since Infrastructure Malta continuously records and measures different activities such as how many vehicles pass through certain localities, new results will start being published in the coming weeks.

Attard responded by saying that there are a number of studies which have never been published. She mentioned that Infrastructure Malta’s development statement said that it is likely that the number of cars which pass through the Central Link will increase.

“You widened a part, solved a bottle neck, and created a new one”

Professor Attard mentioned how in the 90s, roads were being narrowed in order to reduce car velocity and increase safety. She said that when roads are widened, cars’ velocity increases. She stated that it’s a basic principle; roads should be designed primarily for people and secondarily for cars. Attard concluded by saying that for those who do not drive, roads are becoming less favoured by and more unsafe.

Read: Widening of roads is a short-sighted measure – PD