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‘GAM to install free parking lots on municipal land’

By Muath Freij - Jul 22,2016 - Last updated at Jul 22,2016

The Greater Amman Municipality is working to offer more parking spaces in the capital to ease traffic jams (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) is designating plots of land to be converted into free parking lots to ease congestion in the capital, a GAM official said on Thursday. 

GAM is allocating land owned by the municipality, including areas in Abdoun, Medina Munwarah Street, Abdali and the Raghadan tourism complex, to be used for free parking, said Mohammad Faouri, GAM director of joint management. 

The municipality is also regulating the valet services on offer in the capital, Faouri told The Jordan Times. 

“Anyone who wants to open a restaurant or wants to start a valet service must allocate a space to be used as a parking lot,” he said. 

Faouri did not reveal the number of licensed valet services in Amman, but the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported that GAM has issued 15 valet licences in the capital. The agency, however, did not clarify when these licences were issued.

To reduce traffic in the capital, the municipality is also installing meters at parking lots in heavily congested commercial areas, Petra reported. 

Drivers can pay with cash or using cards, and “the fees are affordable”, according to Petra. 

The Amman Traffic Department attributed the current heavy congestion in Amman to the large number of vehicles that have entered Jordan since Ramadan, which started in June, and the holiday that followed the fasting month, Eid Al Fitr. 

“Expatriates started visiting the Kingdom during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.... The school holiday will finish after Eid Al Adha [in September] and they will remain until then,” the department’s director, Col. Basem Kharabsheh, told The Jordan Times, referring to the feast marking the end of the Muslim pilgrimage. 

“Also, tourists, including visitors from the Gulf, started arriving in the Kingdom after Eid Al Fitr and this increased the number of vehicles in Jordan,” Kharabsheh said. 

Some 400,000 vehicles entered the Kingdom in summer 2015 and a similar number is expected this year, he added. 

Last week, the Jordan Customs Department (JCD) said some 24,000 vehicles entered Jordan from Saudi Arabia this month, bringing families from Gulf Arab countries for summer vacation in the Kingdom.

Over half of the arrivals are Saudi, with lower numbers from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and other Gulf countries, JCD Spokesperson Col. Jihad Hajji told The Jordan Times.

Many weddings and graduation parties are held at this time of year, contributing to increased traffic, and the traffic department will deploy officers to the streets to minimise congestion, Kharabsheh said. 

Cars parked in undesignated areas obstruct traffic, but pedestrians are also sometimes responsible, according to the official.

 

“One of the main causes of traffic jams in Amman is bad timing by pedestrians trying to cross the road, particularly in downtown Amman,” he said.  

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