Walking in Kuwait can be life-threatening for sure. I keep wondering why we don’t have a culture of respect for pedestrian rights and the fact that they are humans too. Just because they can’t afford a car or a decent means of transport doesn’t mean they are less human and don’t deserve respect by motorists or have no rights.
Go to the heart of Kuwait City on Fahd Al-Salem Street at any day of the week and not necessarily on a weekend. There is a bus depot which is a hub of all buses and taxis. When one tries to cross the street, one can face several threats. First, there is no pedestrian bridge for the people to use in order to avoid moving in front of cars, which might be speedy, so everyone is forced to cross the road.
Second, crossing the street is extremely dangerous because most drivers neither slow down nor allow people to cross, which isn’t right. I know that the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has put some speed bumps to force speeding drivers to slow down, but not everyone cares to do so. Instead of speed bumps, a pedestrian bridge or traffic light is the answer to end this hassle and chaos.
The bus depot is also crowded with taxis. There isn’t a decent location for those taxis. If there was one, this tiny area wouldn’t look so packed all the time. This area is a complete mess and needs a new structure and system by the MoI and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. A quick visit to this area on any Friday afternoon will make you feel how we have completely forgotten this area, despite the fact that it is in the heart of the capital. It is indeed a shame. I urge an official to try and get out of his car and live the experience of crossing that road, and he will see how dangerous it turns out to be.
Now, if we have to ask why drivers don’t slow down or stop when they see pedestrians, the answer is that there is no culture for this kind of attitude. They think that the people who use public transport are poor expats, so who cares to stop for them or even care about their rights. It is shameful to watch people waiting near the signal with no shade or decent waiting area. Many people end up waiting without any protection during the summer or winter. The media should support community awareness. There might be laws for pedestrians, but if these laws are not being carefully implemented or observed, then it is just ink on paper. This area needs a new layout – it can’t wait anymore.