surinenglish

Gibraltar aims to go greener with some roads closed to traffic

Main Street in Gibraltar was pedestrianised some years ago.
Main Street in Gibraltar was pedestrianised some years ago. / SUR
  • There have been mixed reactions to Monday's announcement, but the government says it is the "right thing to do" despite the difficulties

Encouraged by the drop in air pollution since the coronavirus lockdown began and the fact that the amount of traffic on the roads has reduced considerably, the government is planning to close some more roads as part of its efforts to make Gibraltar greener.

The idea originally came from the Together Gibraltar political party, in its election manifesto, and the government has used the proposal as a basis and adapted it.

The move will apply to part of Line Wall Road, Chatham Counterguard and Europort Avenue. In Line Wall Road it will affect the stretch between the area of Orange Bastion, just past the ICC car park (which will continue to operate as a public car park) to Duke of Kent House. Only taxis, buses, delivery vehicles, residents and blue badge holders will be able to access the affected areas. The pilot scheme will begin on 1 June.

Chatham Counterguard will be closed to traffic so that the restaurants there will be able to expand their terraces, and the government is looking at how to change the way Europort Avenue operates when it reopens, to allow only school and residential traffic.

When the plans were announced at the daily press conference on Monday, chief minister Fabian Picardo said a lot of work will need to be done to put them into effect and it would be difficult initially, but "it is the right thing to do".

He also said that Midtown Car Park will start charging local vehicles as well as foreign ones, because "if we are serious about cutting car use, we cannot encourage people to bring their cars to town each day, with the pollution that causes, with the offer of free parking in the centre of town".

The announcement has been greeted with a mixed response in Gibraltar. Some residents are concerned that the move will increase traffic in other parts of town and make it more difficult for people to move around, while others welcome the idea and say they hope it will encourage more residents and workers to walk or cycle.