A significant decrease in air pollution during the coronavirus lockdown has encouraged the Gibraltar government to launch an initiative aimed at redesigning streets for people rather than cars.
Noting that protection of the environment and the climate “remain at the heart of government thinking”, ministers said the objective was to build on changes in the way people had reconsidered how they moved – “and indeed their need to move”.
Redesigning streets for pedestrians will “enable and encourage people to choose to travel differently, and also enable and encourage the movement of goods and services to take place in less polluting and more space-efficient ways”.
The Green Gibraltar initiative will “highlight the positive benefits that active travel can bring to our daily lives and seek to engage positively with the public by way of polls, competitions and active social media campaigns”.
According to the minister for the environment, sustainability and climate change, Prof. John Cortes, “Active travel can improve our health and our quality of life. This is a chance to permanently improve the air that we breathe and we would urge everyone to work with us in making Gibraltar a better place to be.”
Added the minister for business, tourism and transport, Vijay Daryanani, “We want to show people that life is not all about using your car. If people walk and cycle more, you have a more attractive and livable city. Our new road projects will showcase our vision for a greener Gibraltar. These projects are for our future generations, when people will look back and see that this government had the foresight to deliver these wonderful projects. The only way to improve our quality of living is to get everyone involved, and that is what we are trying to achieve.”
The government’s plans are focused on the following eight key goals:
- Making it safer and more convenient for people to walk short journeys, especially to work and school.
- Making cycling a safe and viable alternative to private cars through the creation of segregated cycle lanes wherever possible.
- Improving the quality, reliability, speed and accessibility of bus travel.
- Implementing a smart and equitable system of road user charging.
- Reducing emissions from freight operations, covering not just cleaner vans and lorries but also e-cargo bikes for city centre deliveries.
- Reducing tourist vehicles coming into the city by providing attractive and affordable alternatives.
- Providing greater incentives for the purchase of zero-carbon vehicles and introducing a scrappage scheme for old vehicles.
- Enabling people to use zero-carbon shared private transport (scooters, bicycles, cars and vans), thereby reducing car ownership.
Travellers planning to visit Gibraltar this summer (or later in the year) can find comprehensive local transport information here.