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Limassol’s Anexartisias to become a one-way street ahead of pedestrianisation as it competes with the malls

Anexartisias in Limassol will be converted into a one-way street according to the decision of the Municipal Council, as a temporary solution and until the proper conditions for it being opened only to pedestrians are created, something considered difficult amid conditions in Cyprus.

Essentially, cars will enter from Pentadromos in the direction of the sea and after six months vice versa, to examine which direction should ultimately remain.

The historic centre of Limassol has always been a pole of attraction, both for commercial and recreational reasons, with insufficient parking spaces the main problem it faces today.

Also, geopolitical turmoil has reduced commerical traffic, however, the street continues to be on the rise in anticipation of new arrivals.

The conditions required for a functional pedestrian walkway

Speaking to InBusinessNews, the municipal councilor of Limassol and representative of the shopkeepers of the city centre, Kristis Demetriou, emphasised that under the current conditions it is very difficult to turn Anexartisias Street into a pedestrian-only street.

Giving other examples of historical commercial streets, such as Ayios Andreou (St. Andrew’s Street), Ledras, Onasagorou and the most recent example of Makarios Avenue, Demetriou explained that the required infrastructure for pedestrians, such as parking spaces, did not exist and eventually they losing their commerciality as a result of being pedestrianised.

"We have not yet reached the necessary average number of people using public transport in Cyprus, at 24-25%, which is the European average. In Cyprus, around 4-5% use buses," he added.

Based on the above, Demetriou argued that the pedestrianisation of Anexartisias Street is a disastrous scenario, as it will block access to the city centre.

"What the city council passed is a move to a transitional stage. In other words, in the first six months, there should be a one-way street on the basis of the shopkeepers' proposal, something that fills us shopkeepers and those involved in the retail trade with optimism.

If and as long as the right conditions are created for a pedestrian street, i.e. we reach 23-25% of the average number of citizens who use public transport and not a car, which is very difficult, then Anexartisas Street could become a pedestrian street. Otherwise, it will fail miserably,” he further explained.

"The authorities are citing a traffic problem, but they are considering the construction of two malls"

Demetriou also underlined that the authorities are citing a traffic problem in the city centre, however, at the same time, they are considering the construction and operation of two shopping malls in an area with heavy traffic congestion, next to a roundabout, an industrial zone and commercial developments.

"We find this approach unthinkable. Diametrically opposite on the same subject. Unless we want to destroy the historical centre of Limassol, as was done with those of Larnaca, Paphos and Nicosia. We cannot make it difficult for the public to access the city centres,” he said, among other things.

Kristis Demetriou supported the importance and necessity of highlighting the historical centres in a country, both for locals and tourists.

"It is necessary for our country to manage the historical shopping centres well both for reasons of local mental outlook and for tourism reasons. Tourists cannot come and see abandoned historical centres in the cities," he underlined.

The local authority must support the developments it promotes with parking spaces

The historical centre of Limassol today has multiple uses with commercial areas, entertainment areas and other developments, but without parking spaces, which is a big problem for visitors.

On its part, the local authority promotes developments, but - according to Demetriou - does not support them enough as it should, with parking spaces.

Specifically, in the centre of the city, apart from Anexartisias Street and Ayios Andreou, are the Old Port, Heroes' Square, the Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol pier (embankment), Saripolou Square, Pantopoleiou Square and Limassol Market.

"It is an area with many uses, but without the necessary parking spaces. The local authority must support all these developments as this is where the Limassol of the next 20 years will be," argued Demetriou.

The impact of geopolitical upheavals on downtown commerce

On top of that, as the representative of downtown shopkeepers, Kristis Demetriou said the number of tourists is down, which has affected commercial traffic, while the number of Russians and Israelis, who create movement in the market, has also decreased.

Asked about purchases made by Cypriots, Demetriou stated that they have decreased, due to the negative mental outlook brought about by the rising cost of living and inflation in general, which have reduced Cypriots’ purchasing power.

"The Cypriots are acting within their capabilities," he said specifically.

However, Demetriou also stated that the commercial traffic on Anexartisias Street remains at a good level and will increase further, as it is preparing for the upcoming arrivals with new brands that will enrich it soon.

(Source: InBusinessNews)

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