The saga of the Jerusalem Light Rail continues with the public opening postponed from April to August.
If you have not been to the center of Jerusalem lately,
you have missed what everyone is talking about.
after years of construction,
with an indescribable mess,
and construction delays,
awaits the light rail trains.
Along the test routes people stop and look
and yellow-vested workers, do what ever it is they do to test the trains.
At first, private cars were banned, and lines of taxis
and buses filled Jaffa Street.
Today, choking vehicle exhaust fumes and overcrowding are just memories,
as nearly all of Jaffa Street is empty of all traffic.
Yellow-vested security personnel are on corners to keep people off the tracks which have live power lines.
Originally signs read, “More than an hour”.
How long will they display, “Out of order” ?
It will be months until passengers are able to use the trains as regular transportation.
So where have all the buses gone?
Many are around the corner on narrow Agrippas Street
where even on a quiet wintry weekday thousands of waiting passengers line up
and people spill onto the street from the narrow sidewalks
near, the shuk, Machane Yehudah Market.
Many old stone buildings on Jaffa Street are set to be torn down,
while some are already being replaced.
Kikar Zion, Zion Square is getting a whole new look.
With time, Midrachov Yaffo could well be the heart of Jerusalem,
but a pedestrian mall on Jaffa Street near the shuk ready by December 2009 – impossible.
Meanwhile, buses are lined up on Hanevi’im Street waiting to get on to Agrippas,
filled with unsmiling passengers who could have walked to their destinations in half the time,
and the first light rail train has been hit by a car running a red light.