Sunday, May 09, 2010

More re facelift for Downtown Cairo

Egypt Today

If your favorite nostalgic hangout is Estoril, or if you like to contemplate the morning bustle of the city over a coffee and newspaper at Cafe Riche, or if you enjoy drawing on a shisha in one of the boursa’s many outdoor caf├ęs, your Downtown experience may be about to be significantly enhanced.

The good news for those who wander among such places is that, if the government’s plans come to fruition, Downtown will become greener, less congested and more pedestrian friendly. But for those who are used to getting from door to door in the comfort of their own vehicles, the environment may seem more hostile. The Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, is working on turning Downtown into a historical tourist area — and the first step is to implement a ban on cars.

Cairo drivers are used to having it all their own way with the ability to go everywhere and anywhere they please, but the government is trying to imitate historical pedestrian areas in European capitals as a means of restoring the city’s lost glory.

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