World Bulletin / News Desk
The Taksim Square Project, aimed to transform İstanbul's famous square into a vehicle-free zone, has been canceled, the Taraf daily reported on Friday.
The project, which stirred hot debates among authorities, artists and İstanbulites, would have relocated major traffic routes underground to accommodate both pedestrians and the area's heavy traffic. Tarlabaşı and Cumhuriyet boulevards, along with other streets that approach the square, would merge in tunnels underneath the proposed pedestrian-only area.
The İstanbul Cultural and Natural Assets Conservation Board, a long-time foe of the project, has requested that the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality launch another project for the square, according to the daily.
Several nongovernmental organizations, including the Taksim Platform, that joined in growing opposition to the municipality's plans for the square have indicated they are ready to work together with the municipality on another project.
İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality officials and representatives from the conservation board have agreed on the impossibility of digging five tunnels underneath the square as the tunnels might cause substructure problems.
The Taksim Platform issued a statement about the cancelation of the project: “Let us not make the project a matter of political disputes and a power issue as people have done for other things in the past. Let us not insist on a project that is going to fail and upon which people have not agreed.”
The platform, in the statement, also noted that Taksim Square and the neighborhoods around should be public places reviving the area.
Meanwhile, the Taksim Square Project was among the topic of discussions in the İstanbul Design Biennial, which started on Wednesday. Amanda M. Burden, the director of the New York City Department of City Planning, called on the municipality to be sensitive about the Taksim project.
Following a push from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş last year to repurpose the square, the Metropolitan Municipality Assembly gave its unanimous consensus last September. The project, which was to start this weekend, was condemned by several artists, critics and politicians, who called the Taksim Square Project a crime.Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Ekim 2012, 17:55