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GSD urges Govt to abandon ‘ill-thought out’ Line Wall traffic plan

Alice Mascarenhas

The GSD has called on the Gibraltar Government to abandon its phased implementation of traffic restrictions on Line Wall as from June 1, describing the plan as “rushed” and “ill thought out”.

The Opposition was reacting after the government modified its original plan and said it will progress the project in phases, meaning the road will only be subject to restrictions for three days of the week. 

Line Wall Road will close on Monday June 1 as planned, except for defined categories of road users, but will open for the rest of the week before closing again at the weekend. 

It will operate on the basis of having restricted access on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays initially during June.

The GSD said the government had “climbed down” from its initial decision to close Line Wall because it had failed to properly plan how to implement this idea, or properly consulted on it.

“Rather than continue regardless with a pilot project from Saturdays to Mondays, it should abandon the proposed implementation until such time as it has done proper groundwork, invested in infrastructure to support its plans and persuaded the public of the merits of its ideas,” the GSD said in a statement.

“This should not be rammed through on June 1.”

According to the Opposition, the insistence on implementing a three-day a week pilot project showed the government's “poor handling” of its traffic and transport policy.

The Gibraltar Government, the GSD said, was ignoring the concerns of thousands of people in the community who had expressed strong views on the subject.

The party said that discouraging the use of vehicles required “serious work” on traffic modelling and wide-scale consultation before making changes to the road network and infrastructure.

"A plan to reduce use of vehicles by our citizens requires serious and detailed planning with widespread consultation and not a suddenly rushed through and ill thought out announcement to be implemented by 1 June,” said GSD MP Elliott Phillips, who shadows the transport portfolio.

“The original plan failed to fully appreciate the implications of the closure of a major arterial road in our network affecting the lives of many people in our community and could have been avoided if the Government had done all the groundwork necessary to implement significant changes to our roads.”

“The recent rowing back on the announcement to close Line Wall Road and the widespread revolt by our community is the clearest sign that the Government is disconnected from the views of many working families, small to medium size business and the elderly on traffic management.”

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