When out of town shopping becomes congested

It is a fact of life that most towns suffer from traffic congestion problems, as well as difficult accessibility to destinations and lack of parking.

It is also a fact the recently acquired attraction by Cypriot shoppers for malls with their many shopping advantages, as well as DIY and the large retail stores (including supermarkets) attract thousands of people.

Malls and large retailers provide parking, but notwithstanding their abundance, it is just not enough, especially at peak hours with the parking overspilling into the neighbourhood.

What is worrying here is the congestion of the traffic flow especially during the rush hour, creating queues of cars and based on our own experience, using the same road on the side of the Mall of Cyprus, the traffic delay can reach nowadays almost 30 minutes, irritating travellers, causing animosity amongst car and bus drivers and of course the inevitable accidents.

Let’s come to one particular area/locality, that of the Shacolas Business Park, which in addition to the Mall of Cyprus (extended recently by 20%) includes the IKEA project, the Nicosia hospital and other establishments, which attract thousands of visitors.

The locality is served as an exit from Nicosia and despite the new sideroad and the roundabout leading to the Mall, the queue at rush hour extends to the motorway, causing a blockage of the Nicosia-Limassol motorway.

So, we now have the ex-Mazda building (next to the Mall of Cyprus), a car showroom/retail/garage which at most attracts around 100 visitors per day, is to be used as a Jumbo retail unit, which will most likely attract around 1,000/cars/visitors per day.

This (Jumbo) is a worthy retailer which provides low cost and a variety of goods and gifts, hence its popularity and attraction, but its popularity will have side-effects of a serious nature regarding traffic adding to the already congested junction.

Strictly speaking, and following the planning law, the ex-garage/showroom may not be turned into a large retail and it requires a building relaxation public hearing and a /special permit for it.

Yet we read in the press that an initial environmental permit has been given for the purpose.

This, if it happens, and with a Mathematical Calculation, the local junction will become blocked.

This in addition to the other undeveloped land nearby, such as that of Peletico, Kalamon road (destined to become developed with paramedical uses, including private clinics, offices), which will change at some time in the near future using the same access.

We would like to project our reservations on how this junction will work in terms of traffic flow and the consequences that it will create for the Nicosia exodus to other towns.

It will need a designer of highways to explain to us how this will work, but corrective actions in the future will be too late since the consequences will not be reversible.

Unfortunately, when we designed our road network nobody thought that each household would have 2-4 cars, one car-one driver and of course the construction of such large retail units in one location.

Hence the problem for which we have no solution to offer now.

Look at the Limassol coastal road, which is already congested, but with another 300 apartments under development, this road will also become blocked.

If accessibility is not resolved, we might experience shoppers selecting other locations, causing a reduction of the Mall’s attraction and value.

Regrettably building wider roads and adding parking is not executed at a speed rate that can cope with the increase of car numbers, whereas the long-awaited public transport system is just not appealing to locals.

Coming back to the Mall of Cyprus junction, we predict that the problem will be such that it might make the Nicosia centre more attractive than the existing Mall location and to this end, it might be beneficial to the town centre, as well as other commercial high streets (both affecting the Mall).

Source: Financial Mirror