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Histadrut facelift completeby ben • May 15 2008
No, not the workers' union that occasionally goes on strike, allowing children to roam the streets and garbage to pile up, but rather the street named after said federation. Sure, former Histadrut figurehead Amir Peretz could use some tightening of the crow's feet, not to mention a shave, but this facelift is far more useful for residents of and visitors to Jerusalem.
As part of the city center's ongoing process of becoming decreasingly friendly towards those traveling on motor vehicles and increasingly friendly towards those traveling on foot, the length of Histadrut St. between the corners of Shamai and King George is the latest central block to be closed off to traffic. And employing a design similar to that seen on the widened sidewalks opened on Hillel St. on Purim 2007, the block of Ben Yehuda St. that runs between Histadrut and King George is now flanked with trees and benches.
After what felt like endless months of construction that had us negotiating annoying and maze-like detours, the limestone tiles are down, freeing pedestrians to look both ways only for baby carriages and elbows.
Say what you will about the guiding principle behind making downtown less friendly towards standard modes of transportation - this is clearly a case of lending the neighborhood a feeling that's just plain more open and inviting.
The corner of Histadrut St. and King George St. (top) and the corner of Ben Yehuda St. and King George St. (above, mere moments prior to the installation of benches and trees) by Harry Rubenstein for Jerusalemite.
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