Jewish Quarter Residents Concerned Over Road Work

Zion Gate. photo by Abir Sultan/Flash 90
The Zion Gate in the Old City. (Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Residents of the Jewish Quarter in Yerushalayim’s Old City are bracing themselves for two difficult years – the amount of time the city says it will take for the repairs and upgrades to be made to the main traffic road that leads from the Jaffa Gate to the Zion Gate. The road, which is shared by cars and pedestrians, is extremely narrow in places and allows for only one way traffic. Among the measures to be taken to expand the road will be the elimination of parking spaces on the side of the road.

According to city sources, work to upgrade and widen the road will begin next month. That is going to entail closure of the road every night between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. – which means that vehicles that need to get to or from the parking lot in the Jewish Quarter will have to beat that deadline, or remain stuck inside or outside overnight.

As an alternative, residents of the Jewish Quarter – but not visitors – will be allowed in the Old City via the Zion Gate, but not all vehicles can fit through that entry, and neither can many successfully make the sharp turn within the walls of the gate. Residents have requested that the Number 38 bus, which usually ends at the Dung Gate near the Kosel, be extended to allow buses to make the climb into the Jewish Quarter and terminate at the parking lot.

In a statement, the head of the Jewish Quarter community organization said that while residents had no problem with the road work, “you cannot begin this work without providing a proper solution for residents. This is not like some of the festivals and holiday events, where they close the road for a few days. We are talking about two years, and there is no telling what catastrophic situations can develop if an emergency takes place.”

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