Friday, September 16, 2016
Danger at the Strand: When will Transport Malta take action to stop this?
- Appears in Malta Today as 'The Sliema Strand has become a cowboy's paradise'-
Yet another terrible accident at the Sliema/Gzira Strand has taken place.
A 50-year old woman has been run over by a car and is in critical condition. Just a few weeks ago a 26-year old man died after being run over by another car on the same road.
Such accidents have their own individual merits, and I will not go into this.
But I want to remind everyone that Transport Malta recently decided to keep traffic lights permanently flashing on amber. The Strand is now a dangerous free-for-all devoid of responsible traffic management.
The official reason for this, and I am quoting correspondence during this Summer between TM officials and myself as Sliema Local Councillor, was that "The pedestrian crossings along The Strand where switched to flashing amber by order of the Roads Department due to the works at Kappara junction. This was done in order to relieve traffic . At the moment we are looking into the option of activating the crossings in the evenings, to at least be able to provide a safe crossing during that time".
As everyone knows, this was not followed up by TM. So don't hold your breath to wait till the traffic lights are turned to their normal function so as to safeguard pedestrians and cyclists' safety.
TM are also aware of the dangerous situation on the bus lane at the Strand, where cowboys frequently zigzag and accelerate into it at all times of the day so as to avoid traffic. Again, I have been raising this issue with Transport Malta and the press for quite some time, yet TM stubbornly refuses to take action.
Like many other Sliema residents, I pass from this road every day, and I have never seen wardens or TM officials stop drivers irregularly using the bus lane. Many moons after the authorities were asked by Sliema Local Council on how many tickets were given on this matter in preceding months, we finally received a reply. The grand total number of tickets given was 12. Yes, 12.
Anyone who frequents the strand that 12 cars abuse the bus lane every five minutes.
TM's crass irresponsibility has rendered the Strand to a highway of permanent danger. And let us keep in mind that the Strand is full of other irregularities: ticketing booths, tables and chairs irregularly occupying walking space. Vendors permanently usurping parking spaces. A public car park characterized by private revenue for parkers.
In short, the Strand is a cowboy's paradise.
Who will take political responsibility for this?