As part of a campaign launched by MP Nadim Gemayel called Achrafieh 2020 which aims at upping the living standards of one of Beirut’s main neighborhoods, a car-free day is taking place there today whereby no cars are permitted on the roads between 8 am and 6 pm.
The 2020 aim of the campaign is to have a functional tramway running around the neighborhood, have more parks and green spaces around, reduce the need for cars and therefore congestion in the densely populated neighborhoods. The model will serve as a platform for Beirut and possibly other Lebanese cities as well.
It is not meant to be an attempt at segregation which some people are saying this looks like. It’s meant to be a way to better the lives of those who choose to call Achrafieh their home.
The streets of Achrafieh will also have bicycle paths for those who decide to use that mode of transportation. After a one month stay in France, I have seen many people who prefer their bicycles over their cars. So why not have that in Beirut as well?
Just yesterday I was having a discussion with my friends about the difference of mentalities that I’ve noticed when it comes to the mere element of “walking” in Lebanon. How many of us would rather take their car for something that would require a 15 minute walk at most? I’m sure most of us do.
We blame the lack of a decent transportation system, we blame the lack of proper pedestrian lanes, we blame everything that we could think of… except our undeniable need for vehicles. So to me, even though I won’t be able to participate seeing I’m in the other side of the country, a car free day in any part of Beirut is absolutely welcome.
Why? Because it shows many Lebanese people that you can really get somewhere without turning up your engine and driving. You only need your two legs and you’re set. Introducing the need to walk instead the need for a car in the minds of those who live in Beirut especially and Lebanon generally is an absolute necessity.
I’m glad to see Achrafieh taking pioneering steps in that regards. Good luck in their pursuits.
The above pictures were taken from the following Facebook page (click here).