Cairo Banning Cars, Greening Streets

The Egyptian capital is planning a makeover, turning the downtown into a pedestrian-only zone in the spirit of Europe's historic cities in order to attract tourism.

Osama Diab of Egypt Today says that downtown Cairo is a shadow of its former self:

"Created by Khedive Ismail Pasha, in the latter half of the nineteenth century to be a Nile-side imitation of Paris with wide boulevards and spacious squares, the belle époque architecture now crumbles onto sidewalks lined with gaudy, neon-lit storefronts and streets deafened by the crawling mass of honking traffic."

In 2009, Cairo's General Organization for Physical Planning (GOPP) was tasked with creating a revitalization plan. Working with urban planning and design consultants, they prepared a plan that restores the historical nature of downtown and simultaneously meets current ideas of placemaking and sustainability.

Full Story: Downtown Cairo's Extreme Makeover



You're doing it wrong

Successful implementation of any pedestrianization project is linked to the completion of a handful of multi-story underground garages. If Downtown is to become a car-free zone, there must be enough areas surrounding its borders to accommodate all the vehicles that wouldn’t be allowed in the area. A 26,000-square-meter underground multi-story garage is currently being built in Tahrir Square to accommodate 2,500 cars and is scheduled to open in 2011. “We will also do our best to make sure there are as many parking spots as possible to make it easy for people to get to their destination without having to walk for long,” says Elgazar.


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