Pedestrian spaces top local council agendas

Car-free areas create lively social spots where people can meet and connect.

Community projects significantly influence our daily life, making them a critical factor for voters during local council elections. These initiatives directly address the needs and concerns of the electorate, such as the long-standing issue of excessive car presence which has drawn considerable criticism over the years.

Responding to these concerns, local councils are actively announcing and refining projects aimed at enhancing community spaces and reducing vehicular congestion. Such efforts show a commitment to listening and responding to the residents’ voices, ensuring their needs and suggestions are integral to the planning and execution of community projects.

Pedestrian spaces are very much in demand in Malta, and rightly so, since they are essential for building healthier, more sustainable communities. By focusing on walkways and pedestrian-only areas, our towns encourage more walking, and cutting down on car pollution. As we can very well remember from our recent past, car-free areas create lively social spots where people can meet and connect.

Enough philosophy and more concrete examples, we hear you say. Right, let’s use
Ħal Tarxien as an example. This town in south-east Malta is set to transform with a €1.8 million investment into the regeneration of the square and parvis of its historic parish Church. The project promises an extensive revamp, involving new lava and porfido surfaces for the pavements around the square, and the reconstruction of the Church parvis with fresh paving and repaired stairs.

In addition to aesthetic enhancements, the project will introduce a modern lighting system tailored to complement the square’s ambiance. Further improvements include the restoration of electricity poles, the installation of updated street furniture, and upgrades to both the drainage and rainwater collection systems, alongside underground passages for telecommunications and electricity distribution.

Speaking to The Journal, mayor Joseph Abela Galea outlined the vision of turning the area in front of the church into a pedestrian zone, designed to boost local charm and organisation. “This project has been meticulously planned, following extensive studies to ensure the best outcomes for the square and its adjoining streets,” explained the mayor. With around twelve thousand residents, the community has warmly received the initiative, looking forward to the enhanced public spaces.

The project is part of a broader government effort to return open spaces to public use, improving infrastructure and thereby enhancing the quality of life. Similar regeneration projects in Gudja, Mosta, and Rabat serve as further evidence of this commitment.

Such projects address a pressing need for us to focus on enhancing the beauty of our spaces. As our islands continue to evolve, it is essential that we invest in making our urban and rural areas not only more aesthetically pleasing but also more welcoming and sustainable. By beautifying our spaces, we not only enrich our quality of life, but we make sure  that the natural charm and historical richness of our islands are preserved and celebrated for generations to come.

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