The Government has today published concept media relating to its vision for the improvements to Line Wall Road and the area of Chatham Counterguard, Montagu Curtain and Fish Market Lane. The plans offer a glimpse into the many significant improvements and benefits the Government is working to deliver in connection with the restriction of access to Line Wall Road.
Line Wall Road
Consistent with the Government’s mandate to deliver a greener Gibraltar and a child friendly city, the concept balances the vision and determination of the Government to improve the environment in which Gibraltarians go about their lives on the one hand, with the day-to-day practical requirements of a busy city like ours on the other. The concept illustrates what a “Line Wall Boulevard” may look like in the context of the pilot project to restrict access to Line Wall Road.
The main features of the concept, all of which are subject to development in the context of data being gathered by Government, practical requirements and the input of those stakeholders engaging with the Government in relation to these exciting new projects, are:
- A cycle lane, the direction of which is yet to be determined, but which will allow for safe and segregated riding along the length of Line Wall Boulevard for commuters and families alike. As part of the Line Wall Boulevard project, the Government is also considering adding a dedicated cycling connection from Line Wall Boulevard to the area of Market Place vía Casemates, in order to connect to the cycle lane being considered for Fish Market Lane.
- A vehicular lane for all other traffic may retain restricted access to Line Wall Boulevard. This may include, subject to consideration by the Government, access for essential and public service vehicles, bicycles, residents and electric vehicles, in a manner consistent with the current arrangements for restricted access to Line Wall Road. The direction in which these lanes will flow is a matter for further consideration and analysis, by reference to data being gathered by the Government and in a manner that allows for access to/egress from the various lanes connecting to Line Wall Road. All options are being considered, including the possibility of having a reversible flow of traffic, which may be controlled by dynamic signage.
- A wholesale beautification of the whole of the Line Wall Boulevard area, including (as set out in the concept images), an improvement and beautification of the Park by the Holy Trinity Cathedral, extension and beautification of promenades along the length of Line Wall Boulevard, landscaping and planting of trees to provide natural cover from the elements for both pedestrians and cyclists; and
- The provision of outside spaces, which will provide opportunities for leisure and catering establishments.
Chatham Counterguard/Montagu Curtain
In addition to the concept media published for ‘Line Wall Boulevard’, the Government has today also published concept media illustrating a vision for development of the area of Chatham Counterguard and Montagu Curtain in what is referred to, for illustration purposes, as Montagu Park. This wholesale beautification and repurposing of this area on the fringes of the city centre will make the area into a growing and thriving hub for leisure and family activities. Included in the designs for Montagu Park are a cycle lane, which travels the length of Fish Market Lane from its junction with Market Place, through Chatham Counterguard and into Reclamation Road. This, along with the cycle lane in Line Wall Boulevard and further cycle lanes planned for Europort Avenue, will result in the single most significant investment in segregated cycle lane infrastructure ever seen in Gibraltar, despite the Government’s view that segregated cycle lanes are not a panacea for modern, cycling cities.
The concept for Montagu Park includes the addition of further commercial spaces in order to promote more activity in the area, all of which will represent a huge step forward in the availability of food and drink and retail establishments and more and more areas for people to congregate socially and spend quality time with friends and family.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP said: “This is a really exciting couple of projects that will very positively impact people’s lives. This is a great combination of the ideas in the STTP and the commitment to deliver a greener Gibraltar. The positive effects this will have on our environment are a key part of what we have a mandate to deliver. I am very pleased and proud of these representations of these projects and I look forward to them becoming a reality that the whole of our community will embrace, adopt and enjoy the full benefits of going forward.”
The Minister for Transport, Vijay Daryanani, commented on the publication of the concepts: “This is a very exciting announcement and one which I hope captures the very positive nature of the work we are doing to create the best Gibraltar we can provide for the community. Many of the decisions we are taking are difficult, sometimes momentarily unpopular ones. We do not take those decisions lightly. We take them on the basis of a vision and mandate to deliver a greener Gibraltar we know we can have. We understand that the changes we are making can take time to understand but it is my hope that, with publication of these plans, we can offer the people of Gibraltar a glimpse of the brilliant endgame we are targeting with all these difficult decisions.”
“The delivery of a Line Wall Boulevard, with its promenades, greenery and cycle lanes, is a huge benefit we stand to net for the small price of restricting access to Line Wall Road. Keeping a single vehicular lane to which access will remain restricted, allows us to provide a cleaner, pleasant, healthier environment in which to get about. This, in addition to the many new bus services we are planning to offer with new electric buses, will make moving around Gibraltar not just healthier, but easier! We will be making an announcement in the coming days on our new bus route trials which will make for a bus service so frequent that there will be little genuine or objective excuse for not using them.”
The Minister concluded by saying: “The Government is very excited about this project and hopes that the people can see through the challenge of change when they can visualise what the ultimate objective of this plan is. With these two projects, the delivery of additional parks in Queensway and beyond, the development of the Walk the Wall project, more buses and better cycling infrastructure, we are putting heart and soul into making Gibraltar a better place to live and work in than it has ever been before, irrespective of the COVID pandemic situation we have had to deal with. We remain committed to providing the people with the healthy, greener options. We hope that the people will join us and make the choice to take advantage of our new and improved vision for a Gibraltarian urban reality.”