Barkat promises to make street safer after pupil’s death

By MELANIE LIDMAN
October 24, 2010 01:50

"Traffic calming" measures to be installed on Rehov Hanevi'im after a six-year-old Lycée Français student was hit by a car.

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Parents from the capital’s French School (Lycée Français de Jérusalem) convinced Mayor Nir Barkat on Thursday to implement “traffic calming” measures on downtown’s Rehov Hanevi’im, after six-year- old Farid Abu Ktesh was struck and killed by a car on his way to school on October 7.

Some 150 parents and pupils demonstrated in front of city hall on Thursday, demanding that the municipality make the street safer for the five schools and two hospitals along the narrow, crowded street. Since the construction of the light rail began, most of the traffic from Jaffa Road has been diverted to Rehov Hanevi’im, making the already congested thoroughfare even more dangerous.

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Two weeks ago, a three-car accident killed Abu Ktesh and seriously injured his father, sister and two others. The school’s parents association claims that 200 people have been injured in accidents on the road in recent years.

During Thursday’s demonstration, French School parent Nicolas Pelham was able to enter the municipal building to personally deliver a petition to Barkat, urging the city to do something about the road.

They had turned to the municipality several times before the accident, but since Abu Ktesh’s death, the plea has taken on added urgency.

Pelham was able to catch Barkat in the hallway and hand-deliver the letter. He then sat with the mayor for a brief meeting to brainstorm ways to make the road safer.

The municipality pledged to start work next week to do just that.

While specific plans are still unclear, options discussed included improving the pavement, adding barriers on the sidewalks, installing raised crosswalks, and adding speed bumps. Installing speed bumps could be problematic because of the two hospitals located on the road.

“We’re very grateful the municipality is taking the matter seriously, because it’s really unsafe for thousands of pedestrians,” Pelham said.


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