Saturday, April 28, 2007

traffic misery? just what the car czar ordered

David Rubinger, an irrepressible charmer of 82, managed to tease a confession out of Jerusalem's traffic czar, Kobi Bartov. The man finally admitted what local drivers have long suspected.
"I cannot pass a law that would prevent private cars from coming to downtown Jerusalem," he told Rubinger, a renowned photojournalist. "But what I can do is to make life so miserable for the drivers, they will eventually leave their cars at home and come by bus." See The Jerusalem Post for his whole story.

Bartov has narrowed traffic lanes downtown so no ambulance or fire engine could possibly get to a medical emergency or a terrorist's bomb site. Concrete pillars prevent vehicles from pulling over to let them pass. Siren, schmiren: it's just a big bottleneck. Plus there's nowhere to park.

Some cities, like chaotic Bangkok pictured above, experience the phenomenon of improving their roads, only to attract more cars and get even more clogged than before. Batov takes a different tack. He doesn't care if post-Intifada, many Jerusalemites still are leery of public transport. He aims to frustrate, trick and defeat motorists until their only salvation for sanity is public transport. Traffic commissioner is not an elected post, because the guy is not exactly popular.
(photo of Palmach Road by I.Weismehl; Bangkok's trafffic JMcG)

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