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WALKING MALTA: ONE MAN'S PLAN TO MAKE LOCAL STREETS PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY

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walkNearly two-thirds of pedestrians feel unsafe and most blame the absence of pavements, according to new research by a Spanish academic who is intent of making Malta more walkable.

And the litter, he found, is another of those local features which contribute to making the mere act of going for a stroll unpleasant for many.

The research is part of a project undertaken by Spanish geographer Carlos Cañas, called Walking Malta.

His aim is to engage the voices of pedestrians in a bid to influence policy towards creating a more “walkable” environment.

Pedestrians were mainly concerned with safety (34 per cent), pleasantness (27 per cent) and comfort (22 per cent) during their walking experience, according to preliminary results the study based on over 300 experiences shared by pedestrians.

“Cities like London, Paris or Barcelona are well aware of these benefits and walkability plays an important role in their agendas,” Cañas noted.

“Imagine the potential of a small island like Malta or Gozo adopting a similar approach, improving both living conditions and the environment.”

However, despite the short distances, most people in Malta do not choose to walk.

“Although part of this could be explained by cultural factors and personal preferences, most walkability studies highlight the importance of certain elements and characteristics of the public space.

“This is a central aspect of my research: to identify what makes a place more or less pedestrian-friendly in the Maltese context, to then improve it and encourage more walking,” he said.

 

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