STTPP plan to provide ‘real improvement’ in quality of life
The Gibraltar Government yesterday launched its Sustainable Traffic, Transport and Parking Plan setting out a comprehensive traffic and transport policy for at least the next 10 years.
The plan is the result of the Government’s manifesto commitment to address congestion and movement problems throughout Gibraltar and was unveiled at a press conference by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Government Ministers’ Paul Balban and Dr John Cortes.
The Plan aims to lead Gibraltar towards more sustainable transport practices and at the same time help meet air quality objectives.
The key aims of the new plan are to provide an efficient transport network, improve environmental conditions and encourage healthier, sustainable travel choices for residents and tourists alike.
The plan includes significant enhancements to the public transport system that will enable people to travel throughout Gibraltar on higher quality vehicles whilst benefiting from the latest technologies available.
The plan, Mr Picardo explained, has been a long time in the making because “these things if they are going to be done properly do take time to develop appropriately”.
“This is a plan that is for all of Gibraltar; for those who enforce traffic rules and for those who enjoy the benefit of traffic rules properly enforced and for those who are looking at what we all breath in and the effect that it’s having upon all of us,” he added.
According to the plan, new pedestrian and cycle routes would provide sustainable connections between local communities and key destinations within the town centre such as Main Street and the cable car at Grand Parade as well as the frontier.
New cycle facilities are proposed to encourage more cycling activity and pedestrian crossings and footways improved.
Mr Balban, Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, led on the project and as a former taxi driver he was able to draw on his experiences of making a living on the road.
He flagged how Gibraltar has one of the highest car ownerships in the world and said: “So we have just about as many cars as we have people in Gibraltar and for the size of Gibraltar it’s going to bring us problems.”
With this in mind, the plan states that it is essential that new parking controls are introduced to manage and control parking activity more effectively in the future.
New proposals to introduce both on-street and off-street parking charges and controls are included in the plan – building on the pilot schemes recently introduced at Waterport Road and Line Wall Road.
“We will be introducing new pilot Residence Parking Schemes throughout Gibraltar where appropriate, following consultation with key stakeholders aimed at improving local parking and access,” the plan states.
The plan recommends a thorough review of the Gibraltar Blue Badge Scheme to reduce “dishonest use” and improve parking opportunities for people with genuine special needs.
The Plan has been the result of extensive work which first started in 2012 with an extensive public consultation process involving the whole community including businesses, organisations and individuals alike.
The development of the Plan required substantial data collection which was undertaken by the Traffic Team of the Technical Services Department who have worked closely with Mott Macdonald, the Government’s appointed consultant responsible for developing the Plan.
The final draft of the STTPP has taken on-board extensive public feedback following the publication of the Public Summary Document published in 2015 and sets a comprehensive traffic and transport policy for at least the next ten years.
Dr Cortes, Minister for the Environment, said: “Traffic and Transport are among the most important environmental issues in any modern city, and Gibraltar is no different.”
He added that the plan is an “important piece of work” as well as a change and a challenge for the community.
“This Plan is a massive step, and as its recommendations roll out, it will result in real improvements in our quality of life and the state of our urban environment,” Dr Cortes said.