The destructive road widening proposal PA/03000/19 in Gozo between Rabat and Marsalforn is plain absurd. Promoting high-speed 60km/h+ traffic and a segregated bike path are a big overkill, for a route that is only 2-3km long that leads to what is effectively a cul-de-sac (dead-end) seaside town. This would also be at the expense of another 11,000sq.m arable land that is already limited nationwide, and 300 trees to be chopped.
The so-called bike path would be rigid and limited for any practical use, and randomly plugged from nowhere to nowhere instead of through the entire scheme; while also starting and ending several times, each time spat out against traffic (which will now also become faster). Bad design simply makes them unusable, creates unnecessary conflict and abuse from drivers, as we have seen happening on a number of other projects around Malta in recent years.
The main road barely ever sees any traffic jams all year round and even if it did, it would only be because of our car-centric policies like the main island. It should not only remain “as is”, but actually converted to a shared calmed 30km/h boulevard with many more trees (not destroying the few left), and a new bus shuttle service.
People on foot and bicycles should be enabled to continue feeling safe using the main road without such harsh segregation, just like most of Gozo has remained thankfully (at least till now) compared to Malta.
But as a sweet secondary add-on there is this existing optimum alternative. It must not be the primary easy-way out for road planners, but simply only another back-road option, for those who still wish a slower but car-free route – instead of the absurd bike path.
All it needs is to be defined better and a few adjustments, such as improving the gradients, leveling the steps with ramps, cutting overgrown weeds, permeable paving, and perhaps low-level non-obtrusive lighting for safety at night.
Part of the car-crazy project also proposes a new bypass which would also be cutting through and destroying this passage, at the part 0:45-1:00 of this video by the tree canopy.
What happened to “Eco-Gozo”? We ought to do better with our global awareness of the environment and climate change in today’s day and age.