On September 16, it will be decided what will finally happen with the Local Government elections based on the proposal submitted by the Minister of Interior. Although the electoral process as well as the reform of the Local Government is of interest for many and important reasons, including the fulfillment of the prerequisites of the Recovery and Sustainability Plan, what the column is most interested in today is the real improvement of the functioning of local authorities for citizens and hosting companies to their limits.
In this context, then, how our cities are structured and function, which also concerns a number of other central government services, is primarily interested in seeing the following: Our communities to streamline their operation and become friendly and supportive of private initiative and the community. Without this there is no sustainable and sustainable development.
Take, for example, the way in which trade routes are defined, and especially those that cross our large cities and are two-lane dual-traffic. Basically one can build shops, but the road in front of him does not contain short parking provision for the customer. Let us look at such an example so as not to speak vaguely. One such road is the one that starts from the lights of the intersection of Acropolis Avenue with Athalassis Avenue and reaches Nechrou Street outside the Parliament, at a point where I also have personal financial interests and I mention it for ethical purposes.
This large single, in fact, road is mixed and primarily commercial, with shops, restaurants, offices, etc. But it does not provide, except in some places, temporary parking, that is, where newer buildings have included relevant provision. At the same time, the sidewalks, where they exist and can be used by the citizen-customer-employee who wishes to park in a nearby parking lot, if there is one, are not climate friendly, as they are not sufficiently planted so that one can walk for a distance. beyond a few meters, without risking heatstroke between May and October. For the summer months, there is no longer any reason to walk during the hours of 9.00 am. and 7.00 pm, which is the opening hours of most stores.
So there is essentially a paradox. We have commercial streets, such as part of the Acropolis Avenue and Nikis and Dervi Streets, Strovolos Avenue, Prodromos, etc. where the construction permit for commercial use of buildings is given, but there is not enough opportunity to serve their users. There are similar roads in Limassol and Paphos and Larnaca. As a result, we have large trade routes that in large parts have become useless and cause economic and social damage to everyone, including the tax collection capacity of local authorities, but also the state in general.
A practical and direct suggestion that could be studied by the competent bodies could be the categorization of all left lanes, all roads that have two lanes, into service lanes (service roads) between defined hours that are in line with the opening hours. of businesses that touch the road. Accordingly, a lower speed limit could be set in these lanes and whatever else useful and smart and friendly to the community and businesses can be thought of by the competent transport specialist, since I am not. An expert can find solutions – they have already found them in most developed cities of the world – enough to be instructed to think innovative and world-friendly and entrepreneurial measures, by his political boss.
On the occasion of the above phenomenon, repeated in all the cities of Cyprus, all the candidate local mayors could either stay where they are until 2024 or change in 2022, together with the central government bodies, to think and propose practical solutions. Immediate, relatively, implementation aimed at exactly what the place needs: citizen and business-friendly practices of resilience and sustainable development. That is, a decent life for everyone.
From how the commercial activity will be helped, to how the streets will be properly cleaned, how our garbage will finally be collected adequately and with a complete program (so that the citizens of a municipality do not throw it out of the yard of its citizens another municipality… because this is due to the incomplete and fragmented implementation of supposedly smart policies), in how we live, have fun, consume, must always be the priority of local authorities. Because some of us want to live and work and raise our children in real cities that are economically and culturally prosperous. Because today they are not, since, our cities look more like huge dysfunctional sets of buildings surrounded by streets without character, without coupling of use and functionality, without social and economic utility, without beginning and without end.