In collaboration, three local NGOs – Rota, Moviment Graffitti and Friends of the Earth Malta – have prepared the below response to the approval of the Msida Creek Project.
We condemn the decision taken by the Planning Authority on the 12th of October, 2023 regarding the Msida Creek Project. The Msida Promenade with its surrounding businesses is an important public open space available within walking distance for Msida and Pietà residents. It is a natural valley right in between two of the largest education institutions (University and Junior College), hospitals, startups and some of the busiest business and residential centres. A large number of commuters travel between these areas every day, many of whom are youths or elderly, as well as residents and visitors who seek alternatives to private vehicles. There is a large flow of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users on a daily basis.
Over the past 3 years, our organisations have provided in-depth feedback on the project, through numerous meetings, articles and actions. An improvement was evident to the 2019 version, and our first reaction was positive. The proposed bridges with lifts to cross a road were removed. However, we cannot compare what was previously proposed with what is currently being proposed. We need to compare the existing scenario with what is currently being proposed.
The project still lacks basic connectivity for alternative transport users, including pedestrians, bus users, cyclists and wheelchair users. Instead of prioritising active and public transport, and place-making for a village square, the project has fundamentally wrong objectives, inviting more through-traffic by prioritising improved traffic flow and increased parking spaces. The project even goes against the government’s 35 million project to create a cycling network in the central region of Malta. We are against the construction of a flyover in the middle of a residential and urban area. It is a terrible planning decision.
The residents and business communities surrounding Msida Creek would benefit from a high-quality urban environment that allows for recreation and physical activity, which improves and supports public health and social wellbeing. Instead of another traffic island, the area could be an attractive place for retail and leisure activities, inviting people to spend time in the area and socialise.
Our proposals can be found here: www.rota.mt/msida-