By Libya Herald staff.
London, 20 December 2014:
Tripoli’s Algiers Square is to become a car-free zone, the Municipality of Central Tripoli (MCT) . . .[restrict]announced at a meeting Wednesday.
The meeting included the head of Traffic Police, the Engineering Consulting Bureau and the Public Works Company. The move is part of a wider move by the MCT to try and reduce the chronic traffic jams in Tripoli.
The idea of pedestrianizing Algiers square has been mooted since the Qaddafi era although there are accusations that the MCT is attempting to close off the square completely in an effort to prevent demonstrations there. The historic building housing the MCT and the Post Office overlook Italian-era Algiers Square
The relatively small and enclosed square, with two entry and two exit roads, has become a popular site for demonstrations after the 17 February 2011 revolution, second only to the much larger Martyrs’ Square.
The pedestrianization move is part of a promise by MCT leader Mahdi Al-Harati to implement deep solutions to the traffic problems which he said has already started with the presence of ‘’tens’’ of traffic police at most major intersections, traffic lights and areas of congestion.
Harati says that his municipality, together with the head of Traffic Police, are ‘’preparing a scientific plan professionally in order to create the city centre a traffic free zone in order to help visitors, residents, the wheels of the economy, business, transport and markets’’.
Harati said that there were ample car parks in the centre of Tripoli, such as the car park opposite the Al-Kabir Hotel, and encouraged the public to park their cars there and walk to their destinations, adding that this is what is done in most of the rest of the world.
The MCT leader revealed that the second part of his council’s plan is the planting of trees and embellishment of 24 December Street, Istiklal Street and Algiers Square.
It has not been explained how central Tripoli traffic will move if the square closes. Currently, traffic moving from the Corniche and from Martyrs’ Square south and east are funnelled through Algiers Square. Closing ite without major changes to traffic flows elsewhere in central Tripoli could create complete gridlock. [/restrict]