Saturday, July 21, 2012

Traffic Chaos in Agrippas Street / Jerusalem


It has become harder to enjoy any freedom of space in downtown Jerusalem. Especially in the Nachlaot neighbourhood across the Machane Yehudah Market. 

Additional floors are being built on top of older buildings. Within the past years, Nachlaot has experienced a booming real estate demand whereas in previous years, in 2002 when I used to live there, a new flatmate could hardly be found. In those days, people looking for shared apartments rather preferred living in Old Katamon, the German Colony or the French Hill. Suddenly everything changed and now Nachlaot is the top address for sharing and new immigrants from the US buying houses. 

The hood has become an expensive area to live in. Carlebachers, self – appointed healers and artists, and now also plenty of Haredim have turned the former Kurdish and Moroccan immigrant slum into an overcrowded neighbourhood. Not only that but since Jerusalem’s new tram has started its job, almost the entire Egged bus traffic is going from King George / HaNevi’im Street through Agrippas Street up to the Central Bus Station. 

The Machane Yehudah Market is surrounded by Jaffa Road and by Nachlaot’s Agrippas Street on the other side. Agrippas Street is a long but narrow road and even before the buses came, the road was almost unable to manage all the car traffic. Let alone the masses of delivery trucks reaching the market every morning. Since last summer, the road has been constantly packed with thousands of Egged buses every day. Buses making their way from the Central Bus Station to Katamon, the outskirts, the German Colony, Talpiyot, Armon HaNatziv and vice versa. In times of rush hour, buses are standing in an endless line waiting to reach their destination which is the next bus stop across the Machane Yehudah Market. 

Right next to the road traffic, you find the sidewalks with thousands of people walking. Coming from the market with all their groceries, crossing the road in between the buses, bus stops located at the busy road … Agrippas Street has turned into a jungle. I rather prefer not to imagine a case where a bus is going wild, is having an accident and running into all those people on the sidewalks. 

Letting all the downtown traffic running through Agrippas is a big mistake but a real disaster has to happen until our Municipality may start thinking. Until then, people and buses continue making their way right next to each other.

I took all these photos last Thursday afternoon.

Photos: Miriam Woelke

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