I arrived to Milpitas, California after a long day of traveling, and was so glad to get into my hotel room, open up my laptop, and receive a report from the home-front, the battle to preserve my neighborhood in Jerusalem, Baka. As I noted a few weeks ago (see here), the Jerusalem city municipality was planning major changes in traffic patterns to our [small] part of Jerusalem, that would have increased car traffic ten-fold or more on our streets, making especially Derech Beit Lechem (Bethlehem Way) a mini-highway, a frightening thought for us, with adolescent children who like to cross the streets...
In terms of place-shifting, I am so happy to be able to get a report in real time from my neighbors who participated in a meeting with city officials yesterday, that was held in response to a public campaign we have been waging (see www.savebaka.blogspot.com), which culminated in the Jerusalem city council discussing the issue in their monthly meeting last week.
It seems quite surreal sitting here in Milpitas, just off Highway 101 in the heart of Silicon Valley, to be thinking and reading about a road used two thousand years ago by the three kings to visit the baby Jesus, especially when seeing all the Christmas decoration on the way from the airport. True globalization.
Victory did come to us yesterday -- the city agreed to halt the changes, at least for 6 months, to see if our proposed alternative solves the traffic problem. In addition, during this 6 month period, we will continue to discuss other ways of creating a more livable city with planning officials.
While this victory is only temporary (although here in the Middle East temporary can mean several lifetimes), the process has pulled together the community, through email lists, websites, on-line petitions, and good old fashioned community protests in the street. I hope we can continue to act as a community, for the good of all.