Government’s Radical Traffic Proposals: Line Wall Restricted Three Days A Week, MidTown Fees And Potential “Pollution Charge”

More details of the Government’s radical traffic and transport proposals were revealed today by Vijay Daryanani, the Minister for Business, Tourism and Transport. These include the previously announced road closures, a potential “pollution charge”, MidTown Car Park fees and the possible banning from Main Street of delivery vehicles that run on fossil fuels.

ROAD CLOSURES

Line Wall Road will close on Monday 1st June as previously proposed, except for certain categories of users. However, today it was revealed that the road will remain open for all vehicles the rest of the week (from Tuesday to Friday) and then close again at the weekend. This will allow the Government to monitor traffic patterns and carry out a live consultation with residents on a daily basis.

Minister Daryanani said: “We understand there is concern in the community but we want our people to embrace this new idea, and therefore, we will carry this out in a phased approach. That is to say that from Tuesday to Friday nothing will change at the moment.”

Taxis, buses and other public service vehicles, deliveries and people who have cars registered in addresses in the area and are only accessible through Line Wall Road will still be allowed.

The Minister also reassured those with elderly relatives: “Our elderly, who live alone in the area, have nothing to worry about. My ministry will issue them with the adequate permit so that their family members or carers can visit them as always.”

As from tomorrow, owners whose cars are registered in the area will start receiving permits.

The Minister said that the Government is looking at other options for the future on how to restrict authorised vehicles from entering the zone.

One proposal being studied is an automatic number plate recognition system where registered cars will travel as normal and those not allowed to enter will be flagged up and then fined.

The Government is also considering the banning of delivery vehicles that run on fossil fuels on Main Street. 

Mr Daryanani said: “It is simply unacceptable that the first thing that people going to work or our children going to school should breathe is these toxic fumes.”

POLLUTION CHARGE

The Minister also revealed that the Government would not be introducing a road tax but was instead looking at a “pollution charge.”

He said: “If we decide to introduce this, the revenue raised will not pay for general government projects. We are looking at using these funds for specific traffic and transport related green programs. We want to give you a child friendly city that you will be proud of.”

MID TOWN CAR PARK

As from the 1st June, the Government will charge for parking at Midtown Car Park. This parking was previously free for all Gibraltar ID card holders. It will now cost £1.80 per hour at peak times.

The Minister said: “Gone will be the days of free parking in the center of town, unfortunately we cannot allow this if what we want to achieve is a green Gibraltar with less cars.”

PARK AND RIDE

The Government is also looking at a “Park and Ride” facility at Devil’s Tower Road car park. It will offer “attractive prices” so that tourists and visitors can park here and then walk into town. This facility will aim to reduce the number of foreign vehicles on Gibraltar’s roads.

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”

Mr Daryanani said that the pandemic, and the cleaner air enjoyed during lockdown, provided an opportunity that could not be missed. He said: “This is not only about traffic - this is about our future, the future of our children and grandchildren, about how we live our daily lives and the quality of air that we breathe.

“You will have heard how air quality has improved dramatically over the last two months, we must capitalize on the situation.

“There has to come a time when we have to say enough is enough - that time has now come and we have to all work together to make a success out of this new normal. The faster we act, the greater the benefits.”