Jaffa Road Closed to All But “Bus 11”
The latest nightmare for residents (and some tourists) in Jerusalem begins tomorrow. From Arutz-7:
This weekend, the main street in Israel's capital city will bid farewell to vehicular traffic and take on the official status of a pedestrian walkway.
Jaffa Road was constructed 150 years ago during the reign of the Ottoman Turks and so named because it then led travellers out of the city to where the road to Jaffa port began and vice versa. It, runs from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate through the center of Jerusalem to the Central Bus Station and the main intercity highway to Tel Aviv-Jaffa. There is not an inch of space along its length without a commercial establishment, many of which serve the millions of tourists who pass through the capital each year.
For the next four months, until the Jerusalem Light Rail project is completed, “Bus 11” – Israeli slang for a person's two legs – will be the only means of transportation on the road. The sole light rail line, which will run from Pisgat Ze'ev, through the city center via Jaffa Road to Mount Herzl, is not expected to make its debut until April.
Mayor Nir Barkat is hoping that four months of free rides for residents – the light rail will begin charging fares in August -- will ease the rage that is swelling among vendors, consumers and anyone else who is used to working and traveling on Jaffa Road.
It's not at all certain that his plan will be a success, however, because that's not all.
Due to the changes along Jaffa Road, traffic patterns on the two parallel streets – Rehov Agrippas, behind the Mahane Yehuda open-air market and which runs along the newly gentrified Nachlaot neighborhood, and Rehov Neviim, which runs along the super hareidi religious Geula neighborhood on the other side – are also going to be changed.
“Neviim is wide enough for two horses and wagons, approximately,” observed a Jerusalemite who asked not to be identified. “Agrippas will only have buses. No trains for another four months at least? Shopkeepers are aghast.”
Jaffa Road, view towards Jaffa Gate, in the quieter days
of the early 1900s
Credit: Library of Congress, LC-matpc-06541/ www.LifeintheHolyLand.com