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Omissions on the streets of Amman

Dec 15,2018 - Last updated at Dec 15,2018

No doubt, the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has a lot on its plate and has difficulty dealing with the mushrooming challenges Amman continues to face year in and year out, with no end in sight.

Financial constraints can be the most obvious reason why the GAM cannot cope with the increasing problems the capital city faces. The GAM is nearly always running a huge deficit, with no end in sight. Yet, not all the problems that Amman faces are of the same importance nor do they enjoy the same sense of urgency that requires immediate rectification.

At the top of the neglected issues the GAM has yet to even notice or recognise, much less rectify, are the conditions of sidewalks, when they can be found, and the near complete absence of lane lines on even the most frequently used streets.

Amman can be associated with many hardships, among which is the shocking absence of sidewalks, and the fact that if, and when, they are found, they are not fit for human use. The GAM can readily respond by saying that this challenge is noted and recognised and that it is fully aware of the folly of neglecting the consequences for pedestrians, but has little or no funds to rectify this shortcoming. This has been the reply for decades.

Fine, the GAM cannot reconstruct sidewalks in all parts of Amman overnight and make them human-friendly, by either removing all obstacles on them and rendering them safe for human use, but a beginning can be started somewhere in the capital city. Otherwise, pedestrians will be forced to walk on the streets and face the dangers of heavy traffic, as long as the GAM keeps its eyes closed to this grave problem. 

Second, the absence of lane lines on the streets of Amman, where millions live, is most disturbing. By and large, drivers in Amman are not exactly known for their orderly or safe driving habits. Lane lines are resorted to across the globe to make driving more disciplined and orderly, and thus avoid accidents wherever possible. Having lane lines is also cost-effective. For starters, they help making driving safer, more organised and less prone to accidents. Of course, lane lines have a price tag, but ignoring this basic and elementary requirement for safe driving is double more expensive in terms of human cost and material damages.

The GAM's apparent complete neglect of this dangerous omission on the streets of the city is simply inexcusable and sends the wrong signal to the inhabitants of Amman. Surely GAM senior officials have visited other countries and have seen and noted that the use of lane lines is the rule and not the exception. There is hardly any city in the world the size of Amman that has no lane lines on its streets.

The GAM is, therefore, encouraged to roll up its sleeves and deal with these two basic requirements for safer driving. Otherwise, Amman will surely earn a reputation as the most lawless metropolis, for pedestrians and drivers alike, in the world.

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