Trains Under Baghdad

baghdad_subway.jpg

Via Transport Politic, some encouraging transit news from Iraq, where the mayor of Baghdad recently announced plans to move ahead with the city’s first subway lines. The Guardian reports:

One of the new proposed subway lines would run 11 miles from
Shia-dominated Sadr City in the east to Adhamiya in north Baghdad. The
other would traverse 13 miles and link mixed central Baghdad to the
primarily Sunni western suburbs.

Both lines would have 20
stations each and run through a patchwork quilt of sectarian
neighbourhoods, which largely remain divided, despite the security
improvements. Bombs still rattle Baghdad daily, but on a much smaller
scale than the violence that ravaged the capital throughout 2006-07.

Naturally, huge question marks remain about a project that’s been tabled repeatedly over the years due to disruptive violence. But is there a better metaphor for a unified Baghdad?

"If anyone suggested a train back then, they would have been sent to
one of Saddam’s old mental homes and never heard from again," said an
incredulous Umm Fatimah, 41, from the suburb of Karada. "Even now it
does seem a bit crazy, but not as crazy as then."

Another Karada resident, Nazem al-Qasemi, said something had to be done
to sort out Baghdad’s chronically clogged arterial roads. "Look at it,"
he said, waving a hand at a gridlocked roundabout. "Even if this is
just talking, at least it’s giving us hope."

Graphic: Osamu Abe via Transport Politic

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

4 Reasons a $2.5 Billion Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar Doesn’t Add Up

|
Later today, Mayor de Blasio is going to deliver his State of the City speech, and one centerpiece is expected to be a new streetcar running from Sunset Park to Astoria along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront. It’s an idea that’s surfaced repeatedly in one form or another as developers have transformed sections of the waterfront into new residential neighborhoods. As alluring […]

BRT, Rail, and New York City: A Conversation With Walter Hook

|
Perhaps no one knows the ins and outs of BRT better than Walter Hook. As director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Hook has advised cities on four continents about BRT implementation, including Jakarta's seven-corridor network, the first full-fledged BRT system in Asia. Streetsblog caught up with Hook -- in between trips to Cape Town and Mexico City -- for an email Q&A about why New York City needs Bus Rapid Transit, common misconceptions of BRT in America, and what will make BRT succeed here.