A number of athletes have taken to social media to blast the recent decision to open the University’s old football ground for use as a car park.
On Thursday evening it was announced that as of this morning, the dilapidated football ground in the middle of the University’s running track would be used as a temporary car park to compensate for the parking spaces lost through the closure of the lower area of Car Park 6.
Part of the lower area of Car Park 6 was shut yesterday as works on a new complex of laboratories, studios and educational facilities begin.
The decision to use the football ground for car parking has however been lambasted most especially by athletes who utilise the track facilities everyday for their training. Many took to social media to express their anger and concern about the news.
“Each and every car coming in and out of the central pitch will compromise the session and safety of athletes using the already dilapidated track”, one athlete commented.
“The hundreds of people who come here weekly in search for a less polluted and unbroken circuit to improve their health and well being cannot and should not be expected to have their efforts blocked by vehicles every few seconds”, he continued.
“This is disrespectful to those athletes who dedicate their lives towards their sport as well as to those who use the track for their own health and well-being”, another person said.
“The decision to turn the football pitch inside the track into a carpark, however ‘temporary’, forces cars to drive right across the track itself, both upon entering and leaving. This is not only unheard of, absolutely anywhere, but incredibly dangerous, irresponsible and selfish. The hours between 6pm to 10pm pose particular danger due to no lighting in the area”, another athlete who frequents the track said.
“Track etiquette goes as far as dictating that slower runners do not take up the inner lane to allow people pushing their pace to occupy the inner curve uninterrupted. Forcing 1 ton metal boxes on wheels to drive through their turf unexpectedly and consistently throughout the day is beyond outrageous”, he said.
Many others lambasted the decision, saying that it would only serve to further accommodate Malta’s “car-first” mentality and that students should instead learn to use other alternative means of transport rather than be encouraged to use their cars.
The decision to open the football ground for cars was made publish yesterday, with KSU making a statement through their official facebook page:
Following the situation students found themselves in due to the sudden loss of a large number of parking spaces in CP6, KSU has lobbied to find a solution together with the University Administration. Although our long-term aim remains that of diverting the mentality from one of private-car use to the use of alternative modes of transport, such a situation is a particular one where the change has taken place drastically.
For the short term and until actual construction works commence on the Sports Ground area (not the track itself) which is planned for the start of the next academic year, the Ground itself will be used as a parking area to compensate for the loss of parking spaces in CP6.
This gives KSU and the University more time to implement solid and sustainable alternative transportation methods which will ultimately allow for the decrease of the parking spaces.
KSU President Carla Galea also said in an email sent out to student organisations last night that KSU and the University would be sitting down to discuss draw up a solid plan for alternative transport use as from next October, when the University Sports Complex project is scheduled to commence.
Parking on the actual running track will not be permitted, however cars must obviously pass across the track itself to access the new parking spaces.
Restoration works on the sports complex project will see the dilapidated area take a new lease of life with a football ground, eight lane international standard athletics track, and a new Institute of Physical Education and Sport.