RIYADH, 15 October 2005 — The city’s fifth public walkway opened Wednesday in the Al-Oraija District as the latest step the municipality is taking to encourage more residents to walk.
Riyadh Mayor Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Ayaff opened the new walkway and then tested it out accompanied by municipal officials and public figures. It was a hit with the public.
“The municipality has done a good thing for the people of this area,” said a Saudi man walking with his 7-year-old son. “Walking is good for your health, and without these areas we wouldn’t be able to exercise in public because walking on the street is just too dangerous.”
Another local resident, Nasser, was happy his girls now have a place to walk in peace. “My daughters keep asking me to take them out because they’re bored. I think the fresh air and the exercise could do them good. At least it’s better than going to malls.”
The new walkway has a 700-meter course. The width of the sidewalk is 11 meters, and the entire area comprises 7,700 square meters. A 2,500-sqm square was included for public activities. The municipality planted 41 palm trees and 71 other trees along the walking area to add to its appeal. Also included are 72 light posts and 97 parking spaces for cars.
When asked by Arab News about long-term plans for city walkways, the mayor said more were on the way. “The municipality is working according to the plan it set regarding the construction of designated walking areas in the capital,” Al-Ayyaf said.
“Lately, the construction of a new designated walking area on Al-Madinah Al-Munawwara Road has been awarded to a contractor. Work will begin there after Eid Al-Fitr,” he said.
Al-Ayyaf said that designated walking areas in the capital began with one from King Abdullah Road to Prince Muhammad ibn Abdul Aziz Road (formerly Tahliya Road) to Prince Salman ibn Abdul Aziz Road. Construction of a walkway has started around King Fahd Medical City and a walking area along Prince Sultan ibn Abdul Aziz Street (formerly Thalatheen Street).
The mayor called on businessmen and the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry to help shoulder construction costs of another 100 public squares in the capital.
“As for the construction of more municipal squares, God willing, we intend to build 100 squares in the next three years,” Al-Ayaff said.