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Govt unveils plans for a ‘greener urban Gibraltar’

The Gibraltar Government has published conceptual images for its plans to create a green boulevard on Line Wall Road and new pedestrianised public areas in Chatham Counterguard, Montagu Curtain and Fish Market Lane.

The plans tie in to the government’s broader aim of creating a “greener Gibraltar and a child-friendly city”, while meeting the practical requirements of a busy city.

The main features of the concept, all of which are subject to development in the context of data being gathered by the Gibraltar Government, practical requirements and input from stakeholders, include:

- A cycle lane, the direction of which is yet to be determined, but which will allow for safe and segregated riding along the length of Line Wall Boulevard for commuters and families alike. As part of the Line Wall Boulevard project, the Government is also considering adding a dedicated cycling connection from Line Wall Boulevard to the area of Market Place via Casemates, in order to connect to the cycle lane being considered for Fish Market Lane;

- A vehicle lane for all other traffic, albeit this may be with restricted access. This may include access for essential and public service vehicles, bicycles, residents and electric vehicles, in line with the current arrangements for restricted access to Line Wall Road. The direction of vehicle travel is still being considered and will accommodate access to the various lanes connecting to Line Wall Road. All options are being considered, including the possibility of having a reversible flow of traffic, which may be controlled by dynamic signage;

- A wholesale beautification of the whole of the LineWall Boulevard area, including an improvement and beautification of the park by the Holy Trinity Cathedral, extension and beautification of promenades along the length of Line Wall Boulevard, landscaping and planting of trees to provide natural cover from the elements for both pedestrians and cyclists;

- The provision of outside spaces offering opportunities for leisure and catering establishments.

The artist’s images also include proposals for development of the area of Chatham Counterguard and Montagu Curtain in what is referred to as Montagu Park.

The aim is to develop the area into “a growing and thriving hub” for leisure and family activities.

Included in the designs for Montagu Park are a cycle lane the length of Fish Market Lane from its junction with Market Place, through Chatham Counterguard and into Reclamation Road.

“This, along with the cycle lane in Line Wall Boulevard and further cycle lanes planned for Europort Avenue, will result in the single most significant investment in segregated cycle lane infrastructure ever seen in Gibraltar, despite the Government’s view that segregated cycle lanes are not a panacea for modern, cycling cities,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.

The concept for Montagu Park includes the addition of further commercial spaces in order to promote more activity in the area.

“This is a really exciting couple of projects that will very positively impact people’s lives,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

“This is a great combination of the ideas in the STTP and the commitment to deliver a greener Gibraltar.”

“The positive effects this will have on our environment are a key part of what we have a mandate to deliver.”

“I am very pleased and proud of these representations of these projects and I look forward to them becoming a reality that the whole of our community will embrace, adopt and enjoy the full benefits of going forward.”

The Minister for Transport, Vijay Daryanani, said: “This is a very exciting announcement and one which I hope captures the very positive nature of the work we are doing to create the best Gibraltar we can provide for the community.”

“Many of the decisions we are taking are difficult, sometimes momentarily unpopular ones. We do not take those decisions lightly. We take them on the basis of a vision and mandate to deliver a greener Gibraltar we know we can have.”

“We understand that the changes we are making can take time to understand but it is my hope that, with publication of these plans, we can offer the people of Gibraltar a glimpse of the brilliant endgame we are targeting with all these difficult decisions.”

Mr Daryanani said the plans for Line Wall Boulevard would deliver “a huge benefit…for the small price” of restricting access to Line Wall Road.

“Keeping a single vehicular lane to which access will remain restricted, allows us to provide a cleaner, pleasant, healthier environment in which to get about,” he said.

“This, in addition to the many new bus services we are planning to offer with new electric buses, will make moving around Gibraltar not just healthier, but easier.”

He said the government would soon announce a new bus route for a service “…so frequent that there will be little genuine or objective excuse for not using them.”

“The Government is very excited about this project and hopes that the people can see through the challenge of change when they can visualise what the ultimate objective of this plan is,” he said.

“With these two projects, the delivery of additional parks in Queensway and beyond, the development of the Walk the Wall project, more buses and better cycling infrastructure, we are putting heart and soul into making Gibraltar a better place to live and work in than it has ever been before, irrespective of the COVID pandemic situation we have had to deal with.”

“We remain committed to providing the people with the healthy, greener options.”

“We hope that the people will join us and make the choice to take advantage of our new and improved vision for a Gibraltarian urban reality.”