Exasperated Bahrija residents

Following the hasty concrete layering and reopening of Triq Ghajn Qajjet exasperated Bahrija residents immediately resumed their commute between Bahrija and Rabat through that road.

19 July 2016, 9:06am
Aerial view of Triq Ghajn Qajjet
Aerial view of Triq Ghajn Qajjet
Following the hasty concrete layering and reopening of Triq Ghajn Qajjet shortly after Bahrija residents protested against excessive roadwork delays, exasperated Bahrija residents immediately resumed their commute between Bahrija and Rabat through that road.

While driving towards Rabat along this road Wednesday morning, I encountered a deadlock when a construction truck from the opposite direction navigated through this stretch of road, forcing an elderly driver in the car in front of me to desperately squeeze aside to allow the heavy vehicle to pass.

I immediately phoned the Rabat council and queried the absence of mobile traffic lights or traffic wardens directing two-way traffic. The reply was that Transport Malta and not the Rabat council was responsible for mobile traffic lights or wardens to direct traffic and the request could only be communicated and not implemented. 

While driving to Rabat through the same stretch of road Thursday morning I encountered several traffic wardens. To my shock and disgust they were issuing contraventions for residents travelling towards Bahrija from Rabat. Ambiguous one-way signs apparently aimed at motorists travelling into Bahrija from Rabat, were the ‘reason’ traffic wardens used for issuing the fines. Such signs indicated it is not permitted for motorists travelling from Rabat to Bahrija to drive along Triq Ghajn Qajjet ‘except for residents’… of where?

Together with other Bahrija residents, I immediately took to social media to raise the alarm that hefty fines were being issued and vent frustration at the situation. Seeing our anger, Rabat Mayor Charles Azzopardi promptly stated that the council was not responsible for instructing wardens to issue such traffic fines. 

Residents quickly pointed out that the wardens themselves stated that it was in fact the council which gave orders, which was once again vehemently denied by the mayor.

To add insult to injury, Azzopardi scapegoated the ambiguity of the one-way signs by highlighting the problem of access to nature, instead of the extreme inconvenience we residents are facing. He then suggested that residents collectively contest the fine, to which a resident had to explain that to take half a day’s leave from work to contest the fine is useless assuming that the case would be won.

I am requesting the Rabat Local Council, Transport Malta and the Local Enforcement System (LES) to once and for all manage the situation seriously, suspend all contraventions issued for the above stated ‘reason’ and issue a written apology to Bahrija residents for the way the situation was handled.

Lee Bugeja Bartolo
Bahrija