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Motorists say 7th Circle traffic lights easing congestion

By Muath Freij - Apr 28,2014 - Last updated at Apr 28,2014

AMMAN — Although many motorists in the capital would prefer a traffic-light free commute, several said the new signals that replaced the 7th Circle were a “good idea” to resolve congestion in the area. 

A number of drivers interviewed by The Jordan Times said they noticed that traffic jams have been reduced due to the measure taken by the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM). 

Earlier this month, the municipality replaced the circle with traffic lights to ease vehicle movement.

Yara Nuseir, who works in the area, said the project has proven successful.

“I used to wait for 10 minutes to cross the 7th Circle while heading to my job. Now, it only takes a short period of time,” she told The Jordan Times over the phone.

But not all traffic lights are a good idea, Nuseir acknowledged.

“The traffic lights on Mecca Street on the way to Mecca Mall have increased road jams instead of resolving the problem,” she noted.   

Mahmoud Khalilah, a sales director at a private company, said he does not regard traffic lights in general as a good idea, but those at the 7th Circle, a vital intersection that leads to Queen Alia International Airport, are an exception.

“The thing is, motorists did not yield the right-of-way at the circle, which sometimes led to gridlock that would last for hours. Traffic lights are the only way to force all motorists to respect priorities.”

The two-phase traffic control system prohibits cars coming from the 8th Circle from proceeding to the 6th Circle and vice versa, and also prohibits traffic from the airport road head towards Abdullah Ghosheh Street and vice versa, forcing motorists to take the tunnels instead.

Omar Shurman, an employee at a company near the 7th Circle area, said forcing motorists to go through the tunnel has regulated vehicle movement. 

“The traffic lights force people to take specific routes, which helps ease the jams.”

But Rateb Manaseer disagreed. 

The taxi driver said it now takes a longer time to reach specific destinations.

“If I want to go from the 8th Circle to Abdullah Ghosheh Street, I have to take a longer route than the one I used to take when there was a circle,” Manaseer said. 

He suggested constructing a flyover to resolve the problem.

“Unfortunately, officials don’t look for long-term solutions.”

Meanwhile, Khaled Haddadin, head of the GAM traffic operations directorate, said the municipality will conduct a study to assess the effect of the new traffic lights after construction work in the area concludes. 

“We usually conduct such a study one month after the end of the project,” he noted. 

Haddadin said the municipality is also studying several possible solutions to ease traffic jams in several busy areas in the capital, such as the 8th Circle and Mecca Street.

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