Taksim’s renewal project protested

Taksim’s renewal project protested

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Taksim’s renewal project protested

The re-building of the Artillery Barracks (Taksim Topçu Kışlası) is another controversial point in the Taksim Square renewal project. Hürriyet photo

Around 1,000 people staged a protest yesterday against plans by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to pedestrianize the famous Taksim Square.

The Istanbul Chamber of City Planners says the project’s aim is in fact not to ease the traffic for pedestrians, but rather to give primacy to vehicles by creating five tunnels, which will make it very difficult for pedestrians to reach the square.

Tayfun Kahraman, the head of chamber, said the project had been designed entirely for vehicles and shopping malls. In the scheme, pedestrians will have only two choices to arrive in Taksim Square: The first is to walk in a single line on two sides of the street for nearly 100 meters, and the second is to climb the stairs from underground, he said.

“There will be five tunnels from every approach to Taksim, apart from İstiklal Street. For more than 100 meters in every direction pedestrians will have to walk on single pavements.

This will be an irrevocable mistake for Istanbul,” Kahraman told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that Taksim Square needed a project to bypass vehicular traffic.

Kahraman said that building the barracks in the area currently taken up by the Gezi Parkı would cause Taksim to lose its identity as a square.

“This barracks will not be a museum, it will be a shopping mall and cultural center,”
he said, adding that the details of the project were still unknown. The project is expected to commence work this week.