The AUB Neighborhood Initiative, in collaboration with PROCOL Lebanon and the Municipality of Beirut, launched the ‘Raseef’ initiative aimed at transforming parking spots on Bliss street to public spaces. The aim is to replace car parking spots with “inviting seating areas, planters, and a backgammon table”, and by doing so “foster community engagement and beautify the cityscape”.

AUB shared few visuals of this initiative and while the seating areas look really nice, I am not sure I would have placed them facing the Main Gate, the busiest spot on Bliss Street. These spaces would fit better in calmer areas along Bliss street outside coffee shops.

On another note, who is going to make sure motorists don’t park on the side walk or in these spaces? If AUB is relying on the municipality of Beirut, good luck with that! Add to that the safety concerns of cars or motorists crashing into these spaces.

All in all, this is a good initiative but very hard to implement. I hope they reconsider the location and make it work because Beirut is in dire need of such spaces.