Jaffa Road, the main transportation artery in Jerusalem until only last week, is now closed to all traffic except the new Light Rail Transit system. Tests have begun this week and the LRT has hit Jaffa Road for the first time. The Jerusalem Municipality and police have deployed dozens of officers and ushers to educate the public in conducting themselves safely along the tracks. Barriers have been set up to prevent pedestrians from crossing Jaffa Road except at supervised intersections.
All bus lines, previously running along Jaffa Road, have been diverted to adjacent streets. The already crowded Agripas Street, near the Machane Yehuda Shuk market, has now become a nightmare with some 20 bus lines running in both directions. An expected one thousand buses will travel daily in both directions of this narrow two-lane street. Egged bus company supervisors desperately attempt to direct traffic and untie the knot.
The LRT project is now expected to be completed by April 2011. The municipality has suggested free rides for all until it becomes commercial in August.