Sana’a’s streets present travel and economic hassle
Sana’a’s streets saw many excavations when the military dug trenches in Al-Hasaba, Sofan and other areas. Many speed bumps were also laid in front of houses in residential areas.
Essam Ahmed, a taxi driver, is angered by the large number of speed bumps in the streets.
“I spend more money than I make to fix my car because of speed bumps and pot holes,” Ahmed said. “There are many speed bumps in neighborhoods which I don’t slow down for because I don’t see them when the electricity is off.”
He said he takes his car to a mechanic every week to repair it because of generally poor street conditions.
Speed bumps negatively affect cars and cause traffic jams. They destroy streets as well as cars, according to Hamza Al-Ashwal, general manager of the Sana’a Public Works Office.
Abdulaziz Al-Hamadi, an ambulance driver, said he can’t drive fast enough to the hospital during emergencies because of street conditions.
“I always have a difficult time driving sick people to the hospital because I have to slow down so many times,” Al-Hamadi said. “A minute can be critical to save life.”
Al-Hamdi wonders why authorities aren’t concerned, as speed bumps destroy streets and incur economic losses. They also can cause death when people driving very fast suddenly encounter a speed bump.
Speed bumps are a problem that began cropping up a long time ago. In the past, only influential people used to build speed bumps in front of their houses and stores, but nowadays, many people build speed bumps in neighborhoods and consider them to be a good thing.
Ali Al-Amrani, a father of seven, encourages building speed bumps in neighborhoods. He built two speed bumps at the entrance to his neighborhood.
“We built speed bumps to protect our children against the accidents that spread widely last year,” he said. “Cars and motorcycles don’t slow down in neighborhoods and don’t pay attention to children. They cause many accidents; however, when there is a speed bump, they are forced to slow down.”
Al-Amrani doesn’t deny that speed bumps are bad for cars, but, he says, when there’s better enforcement of traffic laws, then people will stop building them.
The Public Works Office was working to remove speed bumps, but the unrest of the past two years forced them to focus on other issues, said Hamza Al-Ashwal.
“We are unable to do anything because the people who built these speed bumps are influential, such as sheikhs and military leaders,” Al-Ashwal said. “Even ordinary people are building speed bumps nowadays, and we can’t stop them.”
Al-Ashwal called upon all residents to follow the local laws and to stop building speed bumps.
“Security forces have to coordinate with the appropriate authorities to find a suitable solution to this problem,” he added.
Yahia Al-Ma’khadi, a member of the Sana’a Local Council, said whoever wants to build a speed bump must receive permission from the Public Works Office. If the speed bumps are for the public good—for instance, in front of schools or hospitals, then they are built according to certain specifications.
Al-Ma’khadi said the Traffic Administration is working on a solution to the problem, but it is difficult because of last year’s uprising, which made people dig trenches. The government needs to repave the destroyed streets.
“We are working to keep traffic on the main streets as much as possible,” Qais Al-Aryani, Sana’a’s general traffic manager, said. “Drivers must know that the city is where we all live, and they need to cooperate with us to organize traffic and to implement driving rules.”
Al-Aryani said Sana’a’s traffic administration and public works office has started working to repave pot holes and to remove speed bumps and concrete barricades.
Al-Ma’khadi said it has been discussed in meetings to remove speed bumps. “Orders were given to the Sana’a Police Office to cooperate in removing them if needed.”