Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Traffic lights are coming to Mogadishu for the first time in more than 20 years.
The Somali capital currently has no traffic lights at all, but the
municipal government plans to start installing solar-powered ones at 54
intersections in October. For the time being, police officers have to
direct cars and other vehicles at busy street crossings.
"We hope that once we install them at the intersections of Mogadishu,
drivers will adhere [to traffic rules] and orders issued by traffic
police," Benadir administration spokesman Mohamed Yusuf told Sabahi.
Installation of the Chinese-made lights will take three months, Yusuf said.
The first signals will go up at Mogadishu's busiest intersections: Kilometre 4, Kilometre 5, Sayidka, and Jubba.
The project will create jobs for 100 young people who will be tasked with installing the signals, Yusuf said.
Drivers who do not know the traffic code will receive special
training on how to negotiate through the green, red or amber lights so
they obey the law, Yusuf said.
"In conjunction with the road safety police, we will conduct an
awareness campaign to help drivers, who learned how to drive during the
chaotic years [after the civil war], understand how to follow the
directions of the light," Yusuf said.
Lights will improve city driving
Road Safety Police Director General Ali Hirsi Barre said the lights would lead to safer and better managed roads.
"[Traffic lights] will make a huge difference in our security efforts
in the capital, especially since small passenger cars are increase on
the roads of Mogadishu and creating traffic jams," he said. "This will
help give the traffic police an opportunity to rest at times, as they
are currently at the intersections 24 hours a day."
Public transportation driver Ahmed Omar, 45, said traffic signals would contribute to regulating drivers in Mogadishu, he said.
"It will become much easier for police officers to identify a person
who cannot drive well which will force everyone to learn the traffic
rules first," said Omar, who has 25 years of experience behind the
Motorist Barni Duale of Hamar Weyne also welcomed the news.
"When I am driving my car in the city I get really confused because
when I get to an intersection, there are no traffic lights to direct
traffic like I am used to," said the 35-year-old who returned home to
Somalia from England in June.
"Sometimes it is hard to tell if the cars are going left or right. I
think this announcement from the administration will greatly help us in
driving our cars without fearing sudden accidents," she said.
Mogadishu drivers seem to always be in a hurry, said Duale, but the
new lights will help motorists slow down and pay more attention.