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Mekelle City Admin to be commended; yet an effort has to be made to do things right


By Tesfai Hailu
Tigrai Online, July 3, 2019

Mekelle City Administration designates new one-way streets on the busiest sections of the city

It’s uplifting to see Mekelle City Administration’s designation of new one-way streets on the City’s busiest sections such as the 16 Kebele in order to ease vehicle and pedestrian traffic; help prevent accidents; reduce vehicle emission with the ultimate goal of protecting public safety and health as well as support the economy.

Nonetheless, some important factors appear to be overlooked in determining which direction a given one-way street ought to go. And here are two important examples that need to be reexamined and corrected quickly:

  1. The street that starts at ሓይልና ልደሓር / Hailena Ledehar bldg.; passes through ሎሚናት ቡና / Lominat Coffee; between Stockholm, Viva and Jeep Clubs all the way up to the two-lane north-south asphalt east of kebele 16.

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This street is currently designated to go east–west / downward, while its main traffic flow, in fact, is to the opposite, i.e. west–east / upward. Indeed, vehicles coming from the Abraha Castle direction tend to make a right turn on this street, while those coming from the opposite / Romanat side make left turns to the abovementioned and other destinations.

At the same time, there won’t be vehicles to cross to እንዳ ምክኤል / St. Michael’s Church, thus wouldn’t cause avoidable traffic congestion at the busy ሓይልና ልደሓር bldg. intersection.

Instead, drivers who wish to get to the Romanat – Abraha Castle route from the eastside of 16 Kebelle can have the option of taking the two streets next to ሓይልና ልደሓር bldg. a) The street in front of the 7th. Day Adventist Church; b) The street at Red Cross.

That is to say, the two aforementioned streets would be made to serve as east–west / downward one-way streets very well. Here, the fact that the Aynalem mini-bus taxis are parked on one of the streets, and that the taxis have to exit eastward may seem reasonable to make it an east-west street. But not necessarily as that one block section of the street could be restricted for taxis use only without inconveniencing other vehicles. 

  1. The  street that originates at the former ገረዓልታ ሆቴል / Geralta Hotel; goes through ለለ ቡና / Lele Coffe; Galaxy and The Real Clubs; Chapatti Restaurant; Yayne Hair Salon up to Abraha Castle.

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This street is currently designated to be a south-north street, but it would serve better if it’s made to be a north-south street instead. After all, the worst rush hour vehicle congestion is witnessed in the afternoon. Thus, some drivers and passengers who work at 15, 14 kebeles, etc. heading to their homes at 17, 18 kebeles, Medre Ghenet, etc. could take this route, thereby help ease the traffic congestion at the two traffic lights, i.e. CBE main office as well as Elaz and IQ cafes.

Similar to number 1 above, the two streets to the east and west side of this very street can conveniently serve as south-north routes.

It’s worth noting here that in designating one-way streets, it’s important to take the direction of the traffic flow and the impact of reducing traffic congestion at a given intersection into consideration.  Otherwise, it defeats the whole purpose.

Another thing, one-way streets ought not to be marked with the no-entry negative enforcement only, but also with a one-way sign (see sample picture below). Besides being a positive enforcement, this would serve as a no U-turn warning, and as no entry sign where there happens to be a no restriction sign.

And – unlike a restriction sign – one-way signs are supposed to be installed on the east side of the street for clear viewing, preferably at the starting or ending point of every block.

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