Where The Sidewalks End

There’s no doubt about it: everyone hates Amman’s sidewalks. They are steep, cracked, run like mountains and valleys, are usually very brief and are filled with obstacles like olive trees that are big enough to force you off them. So people tend to walk on the streets and there tends to be little respect for pedestrians. A Jordan Times article reports that this past year 2,143 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in Amman alone. 115 were actually killed.

The olive trees are one of the biggest complaints, at least by me. Naturally they are too short and branch out enough to cover the air space of a typical sidewalk. But the article states that city hall is launching “Rehabilitation of Ammanâ??s Pavements” to remove 3,000 to 5,000 of these trees and plant them near the airport. The problem is I read this exact plan about a year and a half ago when I was in Jordan. There was also a plan to remove the palm trees that occupy the middle-of-the-street islands, and replant them in Aqaba where they can grow better.

But the question is, will removing trees solve the problem? If I didn’t know any better I would say once they remove them we will have 3,000 to 5,000 gaping holes in the middle of the sidewalks where the trees used to be. And if I didn’t know any better I would say it would probably take the city a few months, perhaps even a year or two or three, to finally get around to filling them up.

And why can’t they use the normal gray concrete? Why the bumpy yellow and red tiles that just kill the feet?

But here’s one of the root causes to the problem of sidewalks: they are not government controlled. Property owners are responsible for building and maintaining sidewalks on their property. And if there was ever something the government should be in full control of, it’s this.

I don’t think I’ll ever see a street in the city where there is just one long running sidewalk from one end to the other.


  • well at least we can dream of these…why u think people dont walk or jog in Amman? u can’t walk on the sidewalk and u cant walk on the street… i think the 1st thing the new Amman Mayor should attend to is making Amman walking-friendly!

  • Oula: actually last time I was home I was very surprised to see some people who do go out jogging and speed walking in their track suits. but of course always on the street. and yeah I agree with you, that should be a priority.

    That being said, I really really hope they don’t screw up the Abdali project and forget to add sidewalks!

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