02 May, 2014

Sanaa's Costly and Annoying Traffic Jams

Traffic Jam Near Sana'a Old City
Today, compared to a few years ago, Sanaa's roads, streets and pavements have been very much improved and developed; to international standards. The roads and streets have been well paved and widened. Several flyovers, underpasses; and several highways and smaller roads have been constructed to ease traffic and make it faster. But all these haven't helped. Anyone who visits Sana'a these days will most likely be very frustrated and annoyed with the incessant and many traffic jams. Traffic jams that are in most cases caused by reckless and careless driving.

Traffic Jam Near Sana'a Old City
Many drivers simply do not obey traffic rules and one wrong turn or move from any of these drivers, causes long traffic jams; some times several kilometers long. The worst times for the most annoying traffic jams, are at around noon and at around sunset. Apart from the careless drivers, there are too many street vendors besides the roads and streets. It's not uncommon for these street vendors and those buying from them to cause long, traffic jams. Of all capital or large cities that I know of - Sana'a is the only one that has the worst planned public transport system. There are just too many taxis and too many small buses to cater for the millions who pass through the city daily; these - added to the already too many privately owned cars and trucks - take up too many spaces on the roads and streets. It's very painful to watch an ambulance, with a very sick patient, trying to maneuver through these traffic jams.

One can argue that too many people depend on the street vendors, public taxis and minibuses to earn their livelihoods; but, then, there has to be a way of sorting out and solving the many traffic jams in the city. One should think on how much these jams are costing the country: in fuel costs, economically in other ways and in time wasted; if these are calculated, they will add up to billions. If Sana'a is to solve these traffic jams and congestion, it would need to relocate the street vendors; find a better public transport system (like large buses, trams, railroads and trains?); and the traffic police, should find better means of managing traffic movement.