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The heart and soul of Amman

Mar 12,2019 - Last updated at Mar 12,2019

The “Let’s go downtown Amman” campaign, launched on Friday, was an ingenious effort to express solidarity with the scores of shop owners in downtown Amman who were severely affected by the flooding that took place last week.

Shop owners in the flood-stricken area of Amman suffered huge losses that have yet to be measured with any degree of precision. The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) is investigating the flood problem and hopefully it will come up with a permanent solution.

The campaign is a good gesture by the public and an expression of solidarity and support. Yet, the crisis that has hit the downtown area can repeat itself with a vengeance. What worsens the plight of the shop owners in the affected area is not only rain or flood, but rather traffic conditions to and from downtown Amman as long as they remain what they are, and parking space continues to be limited and inaccessible.

People are reluctant to make the journey to downtown Amman because they literally fear the hard traffic conditions. The GAM needs to find a year-round solution to the plight of downtown businesses by making traffic conditions a whole lot better.

Last week’s storm and the flashfloods that ensued may have raised the spectrum of downtown, but in reality, the crisis is bigger and wider. How to relink downtown with other districts in Amman should be made a high priority for the GAM. Admittedly, that is easier said than done but at least an effort must be made to relink the downtown area with the rest of the capital city.

Besides, developing the infrastructure of downtown can boost tourism to it by encouraging foreign and local tourists to flock to the downtown area for a variety of reasons.

Downtown is, after all, the heart and soul of Amman. It must not be neglected, neither by the GAM nor by the entire government.

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