Festivities around Riyadh Boulevard irk Hittin residents

Festivities around Riyadh Boulevard irk Hittin residents

RIYADH (Rahnuma): The tranquility of an upper-class neighborhood in the north of Riyadh has been disrupted by the Riyadh Season and the opening of Zone 1 on Oct. 17.

After Riyadh Boulevard opened — one of the 12 zones in the season — it amassed a crowd of 1.2 million in just two days. Now residents are complaining about noise levels, overcrowding and being trapped in their homes.

Um Yousef, an elderly resident, complained: “What if an emergency arises and me or my husband need to go to the hospital? The visitors’ cars are parked right in front of ours, the streets are jampacked and we worry about our safety.”

Should Riyadh Boulevard, one of the main zones, have been constructed in the heart of a residential neighborhood?

Riyadh Boulevard can hold up to 60,000 visitors, but the opening days have seen an overflow of people parking anywhere, including in front of residents’ garages and homes, blocking residents in their homes.

Concerned about their privacy and mobility, a “suffering of Hittin residents” hashtag has been created, where residents are asking the traffic department, General Entertainment Authority (GEA), and chairman of GEA Turki Al-Sheikh to find a solution.

The disruption of the neighborhood’s daily lives prompted the hashtag. Their inability to move from their homes or return and find their parking spots taken by visitors has become a nightmare for residents.

These are some of the reactions on Twitter under the hashtag:

@LeenNaif_: “With the beginning of the Riyadh season we hope to find a solution for the residents of Hittin and neighboring neighborhoods to facilitate entry and exit easily without closing the entrances to them like other visitors. Is it acceptable that I’m at the turn-off with my road closed off and obliged to sit in the traffic jam when my house is just on the opposite side?”

@Ebtesamss: “My parents live in the neighborhood and they suffer from exiting and entering it. We are deprived of visiting them. My father is ill and needs care, he repeatedly goes to the ER. Does it make sense to close the streets and the residents cannot exercise the simplest things? The traffic department — may God strengthen them — can only implement and prevent people based on orders, while people urge them to open the roads.”

@i_Noura: “We, the residents of Hittin district, have a right in this precious homeland just as others. We must take into account the residents of the neighborhood not to restrict them and facilitate their entry and exit from the neighborhood.”

It is noticeable that after the first couple of days the chaos and hectic crowds have died down and the traffic flow has eased. However, illegal parking in front of homes and parked cars is an issue that most residents are still struggling with.

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