A petition to “save” the University running track is approaching 1,000 signatures, as disgruntled students and athletes continue to protest against the use of the old University football ground as a temporary car park.
At the time of writing, the petition had 958 signatures but the number is increasing and is very close to reaching its initial target of 1,000 signatures.
The petition aims to revoke a decision taken late last week to open the old football ground as a temporary car park to make up for a number of parking spaces which were lost after the lower area of Car Park 6 was closed off due to the commencement of construction works.
“While we understand the stresses of searching for parking spots, our problem is not a lack of space, but too many cars. The invasion of an athletic area in this manner is selfish, disrespectful and unsafe”, the petition reads.
A peaceful protest has also been planned, with runners congregating at 7am on Wednesday morning for a 10 kilometre run around the track. The gates open for cars at 7:30am, at which point the run will still be ongoing.
The decision to use the football ground as a car park was taken last Thursday after the University administration responded to KSU’s lobbying by making available this area. On their part, KSU said in a statement that day that:
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.
The decision has however drawn immense criticism from athletes who have lamented that the use of the area as a car park will compromise the safety of athletes using the track.
This news organisation has in fact been told that, even though having cars driving on the track instead, one group of runners were almost hit by a car on the track as it was vacating the temporary car park.
The Malta University Sports Club also issued a statement essentially attacking the decision and describing it as “ridiculous” and “completely outrageous”.