A report recently issued by the University of Malta’s Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development makes a number of recommendations to relevant local and national authorities to make the infrastructure around campus and surrounding areas safer and more accessible for active travel.
“The intention of the report is to present certain issues highlighted by everyday pedestrians and cyclists, to then recommend the improvement of the infrastructure, design and management of public spaces to promote active travel around the Msida UM Campus. We are thus sharing our finds with the local councils, administration of University, Transport Malta and Infrastructure Malta, so they can better understand current barriers for active travel as well as opportunities that exist to address these”, said Carlos Cañas Sanz, Research Support Officer and PhD student at the Institute.
The report was composed following an innovative symposium on Active Travel & Technology held in October 2019. It included a participatory workshop in the form of guided walks and cycle routes around UM campus and neighbouring localities. Participants used their smartphones on the move to describe their experiences linked to the public space by posting pictures and text in the form of hashtags on social media. Further information was then obtained during a group discussion after the active journeys.
“This enabled participants to experience the different aspects of the infrastructure and the environment themselves as either pedestrians or cyclists”, said Suzanne Maas, fellow Research Support Officer and PhD student at the Institute.
One of the recommendations is the need for continuous pavement and the creation of pedestrian crossing on the route from Swatar to University, which, due to it being a more direct route than other safer but much longer alternatives, encourages pedestrians to use it throughout the year. The limiting of traffic speed and placement of pedestrian bollards are other suggestions that would make this route safer.
Two other areas that need upgrading for pedestrians to UM and back, according to the report, are the subways at the Msida Skate Park and Mater Dei, which lack regular maintenance and need investment in drainage systems as they suffer regular floods that impede their use during and after rains, as well as clear signage to indicate appropriate directions and connectivity with the bus stops.
A review of the pedestrian network design in San Ġwann and Gżira, particularly on the streets leading to the UM campus is also mentioned with the aim of creating more direct pedestrian connections via the better placement or creation of additional zebra crossings.
Finally, safer and continuous pedestrian connections from all entry and exit points of the university are also endorsed, with the possibility of making the university ring road a pedestrian and cyclist priority area.
The full report may be accessed online.