Street

The other day I met a tourist, a bright American young lady. She was here on a short visit. During the very nice meal we had together she told me that she had imagined Israel to be more organized. I wondered how she could have thought that. 25 years must have made me pretty used to some Middle Eastern situations…

Last week we found a notice on our doors. The city told us that our street would undergo repairs next week. The asphalt would be scraped off and the road would be paved with new asphalt. We were kindly asked to refrain from parking in our street between 7am and 5pm. As our neighborhood has been under constant building attacks for years now, this was not a notice that made me happy. However, our street does need repair. It is a relatively small street, but in addition to local traffic there are two bus lines that regularly come through it. In the peak hours each of them passes 4 times an hour. And by the look of the asphalt it seems to me that our neighborhood hasn’t had street repairs for at least twenty years. (Disclaimer: I don’t pretend to know how often one has to repair a street, nor how often other streets are repaired in Jerusalem. But believe me, our street could use some repair.)

In our densely populated neighborhood, there is only street parking. Our street not only serves the local population, but also other people who need a cheap (free) place to put their car or bus. At all hours of the night and many hours of the day, both sides of the street are full with parked cars. I wondered where the authorities wanted all those people to park their cars, while they were doing the repairs. I didn’t have to wonder long…

On Sunday morning (life starts on Sunday in Israel) at about 8 am I heard loudspeakers in the street: “all residents please move your cars out of the way.”  The loudspeakers returned from time to time but when I left the house, around nine, there were still cars parked on the street.

When I came back, parts of the asphalt were scraped. The parts where no cars were parked. The cars that had been parked on the street during the day stood on little islands of old asphalt in the scraped road.

Monday morning I heard the loudspeakers again. “All residents please move your cars.” The car with the loudspeaker moved up and down the street, trying to encourage people to move the parked cars and to prevent new cars from parking. The action was met with little success. At around nine I looked out of the window and saw some residents leave, but another car come and park. The loudspeaker car missed that one…
When I left the house, this is what I saw:

Image just go around us, please…

When walking down the street to my bus, at around 10am,  I met the road repair machines. They seemed to do something though I wasn’t sure what it was. One distraught man called out: do you have a car here, lady? It took me a while to notice that he was talking to me.

In the evening, miraculously, most of the street was scraped. This morning I woke up to the sight of white middle-of-the-road stripes in the middle of our scraped street. No loudspeakers today. A few cars were parked on both sides of the street. When I walked down the street to my bus, I saw that the whole length of the street was neatly painted with middle stripes and a few  pedestrian crossings… over the scraped asphalt! It may be my imagination, but don’t they think the new asphalt will cover those neat white markers?

Road workers were nowhere to be seen. I guess after painting stripes on the scraped asphalt, they took the rest of the day off… Why rush things, indeed.

N.B. I would have added more pics if I only knew how…

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3 thoughts on “Street

  1. Hilarious. Also, having lived in a few countries where things operate approximately that same way, I would personally be skeptical that they even intend to put new asphalt down, now that they’ve painted the lines . . .

    • Me too! They seem to be happy with things as they are 🙂 But since this is Israel and not … (I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings) they will eventually put the asphalt, possible paint new white lines and then remember to do the equally needed work on the sewage or so and break the road open again.

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