The Paceville Mas­ter Plan: a pre­lim­i­nary peek

In an event mark­ing Euro­pean Mo­bil­ity Week, Trans­port Min­is­ter Joe Mizzi an­nounced var­i­ous ini­tia­tives which, if prop­erly im­ple­mented would con­trib­ute to a re­duc­tion in the amount of con­ges­tion on our roads. Stud­ies on the fea­si­bil­ity of a tram ser­vice, c

Malta Independent - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

An ar­chi­tect and civil engi­neer, the au­thor is deputy chair­man of Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika – The Green Party in Malta. ca­co­par­do­, www.carmel­ca­co­pardo.word­

Barely 48 hours after Min­is­ter Mizzi had made his an­nounce­ments, the Plan­ning Author­ity pub­lished a draft Paceville mas­ter plan for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion which also con­tains a num­ber of trans­portre­lated ini­tia­tives. It is en­ti­tled Paceville – Malta’s prime coastal lo­ca­tion: De­vel­op­ment Frame­work. Given the al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ous an­nounce­ments, it is not known whether there was any con­sul­ta­tion with the Trans­port Min­istry.

The pro­posed mas­ter plan seeks to es­tab­lish pa­ram­e­ters for the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment or re­de­vel­op­ment of Paceville in view of the high con­cen­tra­tion of large-scale de­vel­op­ment projects in the area, most of which are still in the pipe­line, in­clud­ing var­i­ous pro­pos­als for the de­vel­op­ment of high-rise build­ings. Read­ers will re­mem­ber that, way back in 2008, a Pro­fes­sor Mir Ali from the Univer­sity of Illi­nois in Ur­banaCham­paign USA ad­vised the then Mepa on the ur­ban de­sign strat­egy to be adopted when con­sid­er­ing the fu­ture of tall build­ings in Malta. (Tall Build­ings: the ad­vice ig­nored by the Mal­tese au­thor­i­ties (TMIS, 26 June).

Pro­fes­sor Ali had em­pha­sised the need to draw up a mas­ter plan iden­ti­fy­ing and ad­dress­ing the im­pact of tall build­ings. This ad­vice was ig­nored when the Floor Area Ra­tio pol­icy was drawn up by the Plan­ning Author­ity. Like­wise, it was ig­nored re­gard­ing de­vel­op­ment pro­pos­als cur­rently still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion in Sliema – no­tably on the Tignè penin­sula.

The Mott-Macdon­ald draft mas­ter plan for Paceville is a vin­di­ca­tion of Pro­fes­sor Mir Ali’s ad­vice. Pro­fes­sor Ali stressed that Malta needed to pull up its socks on is­sues of pub­lic trans­port, ir­re­spec­tive of whether high-rise build­ings are de­vel­oped or not. An ef­fi­cient, in­te­grated and sus­tain­able pub­lic trans­port sys­tem is es­sen­tial in un­der-pin­ning the es­sen­tial in­fras­truc­ture for tall build­ings. Way back in 2008, Pro­fes­sor Mir Ali had em­pha­sised that this must cover the whole of Malta and Gozo and should not be limited to just Paceville!

The Mott-Macdon­ald draft mas­ter plan puts for­ward three op­tions through which it presents two con­trast­ing trans­port strate­gies for pub­lic dis­cus­sion. The first op­tion, en­ti­tled Sus­tain­able Trans­port Strat­egy seeks to re­duce the dom­i­nance of the car and places con­sid­er­able em­pha­sis on the pedes­tri­an­i­sa­tion of Paceville (in­clud­ing the pedes­tri­an­i­sa­tion of the coast), cy­cling fa­cil­i­ties and bike-shar­ing schemes, and seeks to en­sure that pub­lic trans­port is within easy reach – not more than a four-minute walk away.

The sec­ond op­tion, aptly la­belled Car-Based Trans­port Strat­egy, de­fends the car’s dom­i­nance on our roads and puts the em­pha­sis on re­duc­ing con­ges­tion by im­prov­ing road in­ter­sec­tions and bet­ter traf­fic man­age­ment through an in­tel­li­gent trans­port sys­tem and also pro­poses the in­tro­duc­tion of a tun­nel to be bored be­neath Paceville. The third op­tion, mis­lead­ingly la­belled the Bal­anced Trans­port Strat­egy, is a mix­ture of the first two op­tions with the pro­posed tun­nel moved to the edge of Paceville.

The Mott-Macdon­ald draft strat­egy sug­gests that the third op­tion is the pre­ferred op­tion.

Dur­ing the next six weeks (the length of the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod) we will have the op­por­tu­nity to dis­sect the dif­fer­ent trans­port strate­gies as well as the other pro­pos­als in the draft mas­ter plan. The draft is over 200 pages long and deals with var­i­ous de­vel­op­ment, trans­port and in­fras­truc­tural op­tions of rel­e­vance to the var­i­ous Paceville de­vel­op­ment pro­pos­als and is to be im­ple­mented over a num­ber of years.

It is right and proper that the im­pacts of the ex­ten­sive de­vel­op­ments pro­jected for Paceville are ex­am­ined cu­mu­la­tively and in a holis­tic man­ner. Such an at­ti­tude and method­ol­ogy, if main­tained through­out, can only lead to work­able so­lu­tions that will ben­e­fit ev­ery­one. It does, how­ever, in­evitably beg the ques­tion: why is all this ap­pli­ca­ble to Paceville but ig­nored in re­spect of the Tignè penin­sula in Sliema, as well as ev­ery­where else?

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