Elaboration of the study and the detailed planning of the center of Limassol
The under-study area is determined from the seafront road to Kanari street and from Anexartisias street to Ferzi Pasa street, as shown in the map below.
The aim of the study is to prepare a proposed plan of traffic management in the under-study area, by reexamining all the parameters, the new dynamic that’s developing in the area due to the integration of the Technological University of Cyprus (ΤΕ.ΠΑ.Κ), but also the new data. This will be achieved through the foresights of the published Area Plan, the prepared study for the town-planning and the circulation consequences caused by the creation of the Technological University of Cyprus in the town, and the publication of the “Green Book for the Urban Environment” by the Community where the directions of a sustainable development of the town centres are registered. We need to specify that this plan adopts the principles of the sustainable transport and is also based on the foresights and the policies of the under preparation “Green Paper on Urban Transport” promoted by the European Commission.
The general town-planning strategy and the aims of the policy of all the above mentioned manuals are the reconstitution, the improvement and the sustainable development of the centre of Limassol, in a unified multiplex area that will be composed of functionally divided areas, will form the central commercial area and the services area and will maintain its own symbolism and character. The main aim is the reinforcement of the usages, the modernization, the qualitative/aesthetic improvement and the revival of the centre. In more details:
- The traffic decongestion of the area and the creation of the adequate infrastructure for alternative ways of transport that are expected to help in the creation of new organizing opportunities of the central functions.
- The completions and modernization of the basic infrastructures of the area so that it can correspond to its improved role, satisfying the safety, health and comfort demands of the residents and the users.
- The essential improvement of the accessibility in the town centre, encouraging the independence from the private car and emphasizing green ways of transport.
- The completion and the order of the road network and the diverting of the traffic flow in chosen main axes in order to achieve the decongestion of the local streets and their transformation into streets of mild circulation or pedestrian streets.
- The correct urban planning that will target the rebuilding of the area, its coherence and correct signpost placing, as well as the creation of places of specific interest that must characterize a town centre.
- The application of traffic management and reduction measures for a more efficient organization of the area and the reassurance of conditions for an easy access and circulation emphasizing the pedestrians, the bicycles and the buses, and the dissociation of pedestrian and vehicle circulation discouraging, at the same time, the passing by other vehicles.
- The non-structured area of the urban centre acquires a specific role and destination such as the reassurance of the pedestrian and cyclist passing and the connection of open areas by a completed pedestrian network, the reassurance of parking places for workers and clients in unified places, special arrangements of vehicle crossing for parking and fuelling purposes, the facilitation of loading and unloading, the entry and exit of the vehicles and the discouraging of illegal parking on the pavement.
- The reconstitution of the public transport network in a way that it will not collide with the other ways of circulation and it will serve all the area of the town centre.
- The completion of the road network when it comes to specific interferences/expansions emphasizing the circumferential streets of the town centre and the commercial core and more specifically the improvement of the connection between the coastal road and the Boulevard Franklin Roosevelt in a way that will increase significantly the circulation ability of this high road improving the existent fork on each side of the urban island and the construction of the circuitous road of the Castle.
- The development of the urban free space/square that comes up as an important structural element but also as an extension of the town’s social life. The square will be mostly used as a place for gatherings/events, outdoor activities and resting.
- The signpost placing and the promotion of some monuments that must be seen from a certain distance. The development of their heritage and special characteristics and possibilities so that they can render these places more privileged than others.
In conclusion, the traffic management/abatement represents the most appropriate policy measure for the town centre against the private car, because of the existence of narrow streets, of the socioeconomic and environmental cost of possible enlargements and of the need to preserve the area’s character. These measures are expected to positively contribute in the effort of escalating the priorities in the transport means in favour of the milder ways of transport such as buses, pedestrians and bicycles.
Special aims and policy measures
The aims of the study are the specifications of the final management of the area when it comes to:
- the improvement of pedestrian and vehicle circulation,
- the development of both public and private parking lots and their reinforcement,
- the possibility of promoting the cultural legacy and the antiquities and the development of the structures that represent historical or other benchmark of the town, which render the area more advantaged than other areas.
The proposed traffic management measures contain the turning of main streets of the centre into one-way streets, the limiting of the access to main roads, the turning of compact areas into pedestrian streets, the control and severe patrolling of the parking and special lanes for buses. An actual measure of traffic management is also the correct and uniform signpost placing of entry/exit and of the way of circulation in the area, in order to avoid unnecessary movements and traffic congestion (sign posts, street naming etc.)
The measures of traffic abatement are basically applied in order to reduce speed, to give priority to pedestrians and bicycles and to serve the needs of the neighbourhood and not of the passing vehicles. These measures give the possibility to integrate special modifications of the streets such as landscape setting, road humps, pedestrian crossing etc.
To encourage pedestrian circulation there will be a complete and continuous network of free from road circulation places (areas, streets, squares), of streets with pedestrian priority, and of street with wide sidewalks that will connect the activity places and the benchmarks of the centre. The pedestrian areas of the centre will offer facilitations for loading and unloading and special adjustments for access to important services.
Town centre problems
When it comes to circulation, the basic development problems of the town centre occur because of the limited in capacity radiant road network and the inefficiency of relevant facilitations, such as parking lots, pedestrian streets and public transport means that reduce the accessibility of the area and create traffic congestion.
We can observe the lack of adjusted places of entertainment, cultural use, amusement and tourism that would reinforce the competitiveness of the centre against tourist or other areas. The aim is to create a network of adjusted places of passive or active amusement that will help in the development of the organization of the centre, serving at the same time the local population.
The area of the Plan constitutes a centre of attraction, having the whole district as a sphere of influence, and attracts numerous movements of private vehicles, buses and pedestrians. The concentration of a large number of functions and services and the convergence of the road network, without any important improvements or extensions, have created serious problems in the area.
The town centre is normally served by narrow streets of limited capacity, many of which also work as commercial axes, a fact that reduces their further circulatory ability. The major roads of circumferential circulation that complete the radiate network cannot decongest sufficiently the centre of Limassol because, at the same time, they serve the broader circulation needs of the entire urban complex.
The problematic structure of the road network adds up to the increased tendency to use the private car, the low serving level of urban transport and the important deficiencies in infrastructure (parking spots, sidewalks, pedestrian streets etc). The combination of all the above intensifies the circulatory problem with main characteristics the illegal parking and the pollution of the environment.
From all the above, it emerges that the main problems in the circulation, transport and parking sector are:
- The weakness of the area to serve only cars due to the limited capacity of the existent roads.
- The deficient structure and the out-of-order road network as well as the bad control of some basic roundabouts.
- The gradual transformation of all main and secondary roads onto axes of commercial activity.
- The lack of basic infrastructure for both vehicles and pedestrians (parking lots, pedestrian streets, sidewalks etc).
The precedent facts lead to the search of a global and complex contrary confrontation of the circulation problem that, because of the advanced level of development of the area, has to be based on the correct exploitation of the present road network through a realistic economical, social and environmental background.
Proposed modifications on the Area Plan
Based on what has preceded the study group adopts the propositions of the Are Plan with two main modifications as followed:
- The area west of the Castle (Evkaf road and the link to the Coastal road and Eleftherias road).
In order to make walking possible in the town centre and especially in the area around the Castle the diversion of the vehicle circulation from the Coastal road towards the inner part of the town (south) is essential.
By turning Richard and Verengaria road, which is found east of the Castle, into a pedestrian road, the need of replacing it by the direct function of Evkaf road is submerged as foreseen in the Area Plan. Otherwise the Richard and Verengarias road has to remain open for the use of vehicles and pedestrians with the necessary arrangements.
The proposition regards the following modifications:
- The conversion of the bidirectional road of Efkav to unidirectional towards the north
- The preservation of the buildings of the old Turkish Cypriot cinema on the block north of “Ankara” and the transfer of the circulation from Evkaf road to Fatin Sultan Mehmet road, as it functions today
- The building of the roundabout that favours the circulation both east and west of the town to the junction of the Kioproulouzante road with the Evkaf road
- The proposition to turn Kioproulouzante road, west of the Garili River, from bidirectional to unidirectional, until the opening of the road to the north as foreseen in the Area Plan.
- At the junction of Ellinon and Eleftherias roads it is preferable to preserve the present situation and abrogate the opening of the road that will demand the demolition of the entire block. In addition the constructive line of the Eleftheria road shall be preserved.
- The proposition of turning part of the Eleftheria road, from its junction with the Navarinou road until its junction with Ellinon road, into bidirectional road.
- Area east of the Castle – core of the Technological University of Cyprus (TEΠAK) and of the City Hall
Due to the integration and the function of the Technological University of Cyprus (TEΠAK) in the area the need to weaken the vehicles circulation in the core created between the TEΠAK buildings and the City Hall and to strengthen the secure circulation of pedestrians and the creation of squares are emerging imperatively.
The proposition concerns the following modifications
- The construction of a square around the old Post Office, currently the TEΠAK head of the University Office building.
- The creation of pedestrian roads aiming the junction of the TEΠAK buildings
- The controlled access of the vehicles to the parking lot situated behind the National Bank, Tositsa road, because of the pledges with present constructions licenses. In case the TEΠAK valorizes its properties then the access will be made by the Archbishop Kiprianou road.
- A part of the St Andreas road, a part of the Archbishop Kiprianou road and a part of the Yiagkou Potamiti road will become roads with mild circulation to ensure the access of vehicles to the City Hall bearing in mind parameters such as visits of Officials, City Hall wedding ceremonies etc. The part of the Archbishop Kiprianou road, from its junction with the Yiagkou Potamiti road until its junction with Athinon road, remains a pedestrian road as to disable vehicles to pass through and therefore encourage its use by pedestrians.
- The Ifigenia road is expanded by an underground access to the parking lot situated on the Themistokleous road where it is suggested to construct an underground parking lot.
- The access by vehicle to the parking lot of Themistokleous road from the west through the Athanasiou Sakellariou road as well as from a part of the Grigoriou Gennadiou (dead-end) is also proposed, whereas the exit will be done through part of the Themistokleous road leading to the Anexartisias road.
General Planning Parameters:
- The access to all pedestrian roads will be controlled electronically
- The correct and uniform sing-post placing of entry/exit and the way of circulation in the area will be planned as to avoid pointless movements and traffic congestion (orientation signs, street names etc.)
- A foresight is made about loading and unloading spaces, about parking lots for people special needs and taxi-ranks.
- The width of the unidirectional roads in the preliminary adjusting plan was planned to be 3,40m apart from some exceptions that were planned to be 3.20m as to give width to pavements that are extremely narrow.
- In roads with mild traffic, pavements will be constructed with materials that will point out the abatement of the road. The route of the pedestrian will be defined by the widest pavements possible with a hypsometric difference from the road.
- Constructions for access to people with mobility difficulties, exalted widening in main roads in order to achieve making drivers reduce speed and facilitate pedestrian crossing.
- Construction of pedestrian crossing as to determine the unhindered route of pedestrians
- The secondary cyclist network has not been determined since the cyclist is left to circulate in the main cycling tracks, in roads with mild traffic or in pedestrian roads.
- There will be no pavements in pedestrian streets but the road will keep the same level throughout its length.
- With the elaboration of the new plan about 90 parking lots, situated near the road-way, will be eliminated and new organized parking areas will be proposed. Those areas are:
- The city Hall property in the corner of the Ellinon and Nikolaou Mantzarou road.
- The alienation of a part of a private property situated north of the precedent public property between the Ellninon and Nikou Georgiou road.
- Letting Turkish Cypriot fragments to modify them into parking lots by the Ankara road.
- The part of Anexartisias road, from its junction to Themistokleous road to its junction with Pavlou Mela road, includes only displacing services underground. As a result, pavements will be reconstituted as to eliminate stakes, especially those of AHK, that hinder the safe crossing of pedestrians. A possible modification of that certain part of the road from bidirectional to unidirectional will be studied with the east part of the Area Plan.
Conditions for the function of the propositions:
- The creation of parking lots
- The construction of the junction between the Coastal boulevard and Franklin Roosevelt boulevard
- The substantial update of the public transport that will be of great contribution in the accessibility of the area and will have a positive effect in the traffic decongestion of the centre.
- The systematic and severe patrol of illegal parking and other transgressions of the Road Safety Act, in the town centre.