Who needs traffic lights?
I am not sure how the author of this article found the traffic in Lebanon a “great” example of a self-organizing system and it honestly worries me that some entrepreneurs are considering adopting the same “chaotic” approach to encourage e-commerce and integrate it in the area.
In reality, traffic (among other things) in Lebanon is going from bad to worse and the way drivers are behaving is becoming unbearable. Few people respect traffic lights and road signs, speed radars are no longer working and the road conditions are worse than ever.
BEIRUT—The first thing that strikes you about the Lebanese capital is the traffic. As far as you can tell there appear to be few, if any, rules. Traffic lights appear at best advisory, lane markings—where they exist—are little more than decoration, and the concept of right of way is utterly foreign.
But despite that, it flows. It is a great example of a self-organizing system. Sure there are one or two badly-pranged cars, but Beirut’s drivers cram five cars into the space that would only fit two in Europe. So not only is the traffic self-organizing, it organizes itself in a more efficient way than other models. In fact citizens complain that the only time the traffic flow breaks down is when the police turn up to try to control it.
Like its traffic, the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region appears to outsiders to lack structure, but perhaps it is just that it works in a different way. [WSJ]
Clearly the writer of this article is dilusional !
i dont wanna be condoning the situation, and god knows traffic is horrible in beirut — BUT .. this author is spot on the money .. the lebanese ‘driving’ system works .. BUT it would NOT work anywhere else — plus i wanna definitely make the point that MANY people are complete idiots and jerks when it comes to driving ..
BUT – my version of how and why it works – lebense drivers are used to it – we are bred with the concept of driving freely – and yes im going to call it freely – because in 99 % of the time (random number) following the rules is fine and there are no problems — but there is always that 1 % – where if you follow the rule u end up disadvantaging urself and others ..
in the example given by the author above, cramming 5 cars into a 2 lane road — CAN YOU IMAGINE NOT CRAMMING THEM ?? traffic would not only double they would block all the roads in beirut (think about it .. bcz those cars need to be somewhere on the road – they wont vanish)
in other examples- i knwo for example in america no one dares to drive over the “solid white line” and on a highway when u want to exit, you slow down everyone behind you as you wait – while in leb you just scoot over to the side and exit (in this “messed up” leb mentality it becomes awkward when you do slow down to exit and you get honked and so on ..)
so im not going to be defending everyone .. bcz there are so many jerks that just do crazy things and thats just “impolite” .. i wont call it illegal .. i for one believe in order through chaos .. BUT for order through chaos to work .. the people of the chaos should be in sync with each other ..
so what you need to imagine is a lebanon where for example ppl dont go 3akes 2il seir .. and dont drift and do dangerous things .. but as far as cramming cars on roads .. and even no speed limits .. those i believe are fine .. and beneficial .. again this is subject to idiot-protection ..
thats just my take .. sorry if i offend anyone .. lebanon works – because everyone breaks the rules and complains when they see others breaking it ..
we love parking weirdly (yes there are the extremes that do it in a messed up way and block traffic and what not) . but to park part on the sidewalk part on the road . thats FINE it doesnt harm anyone and it isnt a ‘jagal’ thing – its just an id rather park here then 10 miles away .. again — idiot proofing is essential .. and as i said its about being polite .. parking and blocking people is impolite .. but parking in some weird place to park closer thats a no harm no foul situation ..
we drive so CLOSE to others we are masters – it gets back to the part where i say we are just bred with it .. in the states and in europe .. drivers FREAK OUT and ba3ed ma3on bil2alileh miter to pass on each side !! its hillarious and unbelievably frustrating to see someone doing that – i just want to kill them for the lack of driving skills ..
this list of pros and cons can go on endlessly .. but i say .. ppl judge when they see and do when theyre not seen .. or smth like that .. again sry anyone ..
Loved David’s input, so true!
“in the example given by the author above, cramming 5 cars into a 2 lane road — CAN YOU IMAGINE NOT CRAMMING THEM ?? traffic would not only double they would block all the roads in beirut (think about it .. bcz those cars need to be somewhere on the road – they wont vanish>>>”
Really? You should talk to a traffic engineer to find out. That’s exactly the reason you have the traffic jams. If they were to follow the laws; there would be less traffic chaos and orderly commute.
well i definitely dont know where to find a traffic engineer – BUT you are totally correct the laws are there to facilitate everything, and they do in a working system – but in lebanon that is so far from being the case for so many reasons:
1- first and foremost is lebanese pride ! it is horrible ! if people stop tijgeel and tifnees and prestige things would become SO much easier !!
2- public transportation is crap and not trusted – so everyone drives everywhere – plus there is reason number one in play here (everyone drives everywhere — this includes me sadly, i always have the need to drive myself somewhere – not for prestige or anything – but bcz in my mind i can always leave whenever i want and dont have to wait for people) – but for the general population, this would be a life saver, because people that live in or around beirut should not be driving their own cars to work or shopping or uni. If we had enough public transport so that they are not all crowded with people, and if we had a standard of care and cleanliness, oh and VERY importantly spacious busses, not those tiny busses with rows and i dont know what (people r scared of those) ! but investing in such things is VERY difficult in lebanon.
3- PARKING, lebanon is HORRIBLE, there is NO where to park and its always valet, again going to the pride of lebanese, on one hand the rich wanna yfanso and park valet, and the poor people dont want to pay to park so they park somewhere in a weird way and cause more traffic –
4- i must again stress the people .. for change to occur ALL previous and current generations must instantly vanish for progress to happen .. because pushing them into a new system of order is impossible ! they are programmed in one way and wont change ! i must for example say how the lack of rules in the country or more like the “local” rule within cities is awesome.. think of small towns, it is SO freeing to be able to not have rules – and they live peacfully (in my opinion !!) in lebanon we are blessed by being so small, everyone knows everyone else, and upsetting the order of a city will catch up to u because the people around u know who u are and youll hear about it .. i find such a system much more functional then a system where u get fined and go through a huge mess and get pissed and want to do nkeyet and stuff – BUT this falls apart in large cities – especially beirut !
i dont want to go one endlessly, in simple terms, i can say that people are pushing for changing not just the rules but the way people think – which is not really easy to do – they should customize the rules around the people – especially that we dont really have any !
instead of adopting the rules of foreign countries we should make up the lebanese rules for road conduct that adhere to the driving “styles” of the lebanese ! i cant quite give examples because they need alot of thought – but your not going to make people NOT fit 5 cars in 2 lanes – that just wont happen – EVER and believing it will makes u naive as HELL !! but .. and im not suggesting this to be done .. but if people did not have the option of 5 cars in 2 lanes .. what if the roads in smaller neighberhoods or in safe areas NOT highways, had like a “tabeh” along the lines of the lanes – or even a railing (fence) yes in the middle of the road – then people cant fit more than one car between fences – i know its silly — but its already in lebanon – in many places they have rock walls as dividers between oncoming traffic and outgoing traffic so they dont drift to each other’s lanes (and im not talking on big roads, but on smaller roads) and that constricts people – i believe such systems should be implemented by a traffic engineer –
oh and a traffic engineer for lebanon needs to be one highly certified LEBANESE – because HOW traffic functions anywhere in the world other than lebanon does not apply in lebanon – I refer you to the ‘fear’ aspect from my previous post .. people in other countries are literally afraid to try maneuvers as we do in lebanon, afraid of passing when they have a meter on each side, afraid of driving off the white line – its that system that makes traffic work – its because the people are hardwired to obey the laws and hardwired to not try crazy things — we — we are hardwired the complete opposite way !! and to rewire us – is insane – especially when u look at small towns and villages – thats where people learn to drive – in lands of no rules – and thats the mentality they will adopt ..
SRY this is so long ! and im seriously NOT trying to step on anyone’s toes, me personally i am from batroun so traffic is no problem , but when i go to beirut and have to spend 3 hours to get there when a few years ago it only took 45 minutes .. that tells me something — traffic needs to be handeled ASAP !!
heres an awkward thought to put everything i said into perspective – what if in dbayeh since its all coming and new – a HUGE “building” parking lot with like 10 floors or whatever and have akeed some entry fee so lets say 5000 / day – and have busses drive people to the big attractions in beirut — every 15 or 30 minutes — and the kicker would be that this bus would be free – payed for by the parking akeed – so essentially you would minimize traffic into beirut – it would take u less time to get to the malls or downtown or AUB or whatever and traffic from north of beirut is minimized to the extreme tijgeel – because everyone hates the traffic and the driving in traffic and finding parking places – obviously my idea needs ALOT of work — but can you tell me in a few years it wont be adopted – it wont become the easy way of getting into beirut ? just a thought — work with the people not against them — dont force the people into rules they dont want — just give them better options and they will drift to it !!
i have many more silly little ideas and i dont want to throw them all out in the air — but heres another one, if they can manage to build a bridge that bipasses jounieh all together – something like from the casino to the NDU turn – yes i mean going out over the sea — i personally think that would help traffic ALOT ! there is a 2 car highway spanning jounieh and its surrounding areas and there is no solution its not like they will make the highway bigger – why havent they discussed an over the water solution like that ? you could even make it a TOLL highway — pay 1000 to pass or something – im sure everyone going from north of the casino and even those living in areas north of jounieh would rather go up to the casino and pay 1000 to get on a fast highway bridge over the sea to the NDU area – instead of spending over an hour to get from jounieh to NDU — this would ease off traffic — create an alternate — just another thought !!
ya im going to shut up now — sry all 🙁 and thank you for reading !! and i hope no one is offended by anything im saying — i really dont intend to offend anyone ! im just speaking my mind – freedom of speech in lebanon ??
oh and PS: i know some will think min wein ra7 tjeeb 2il dawleh kil hal masareh bala tinseeb — that is an argument all by itself for another day :p byez all
Well, I find some contradictions in the above comment, but I’m not tackling that right now!
I’m just gonna state my points of view:
1- spending 3 hours to get somewhere instead of 45 minutes means the system doesn’t work.
2- parking on sidewalks blocks pedestrians from moving safely,(as well as cars coming at them from all directions), therefore more people prefer to use their cars.
3- the number of accidents on the roads , and the number of bumps and scratches you see on each car implies the system doesn’t work.
4- fitting 5 cars instead of 2 definitely requires using lanes from the incoming traffic and therefore blocking traffic on both sides.0
5- Crossing from the left most lane to the right most to use an exist blocks all traffic, instead of some cars slowing down on the exit lanes only.
I’m sorry but in no means would I be able to say that ” it works”. We’re not playing a video game where everything goes as long as you cross the finish line
P.s: wait a second, in video games these days, no you don’t win if you drive like that !
It’s utter chaos. Cramming all those cars into small spaces just screws everyone.
Crossing from the outer left lane to turn because “dude, that’s my exit” only exhibits the number one Lebanese trait of “me first and fuck the rest”.
Anyone who thinks it’s cool or functional or just good the good old Lebanese way is clearly delusional and shouldn’t be posting opinions in public. Thank you.