Road safety has been one of the priorities for the Unions of Municipality of Menieh. Being home to a population of 140.000 inhabitants, Menieh union is located north of Tripoli and crossed by the international highway leading to Syria. Menieh roads are used by thousands each day despite its hazardous current state and the absence of streetlights which make it particularly dangerous at night. In consultation with the local governments the MASAR – ACCD team identified infrastructural improvements, capacity building for local police and first responders as elements of MASAR support to improve road safety.
Improvements were needed most where the highest number of accidents were registered (blackspots). It was agreed to prioritize pedestrians’ safety, especially in the vicinity of public buildings, schools and busier crossroads. A Road Safety audit was done to identify the above-mentioned blackspots, selection of the blackspots where infrastructural measures should be implemented, design of road safety measures at the prioritized blackspots and the implementation of the designs. The direct measures on the road would be complemented by installing solar powered street lights in selected high priority black spots.
For a better social adaptation of the new designs and for a more effective first response to road safety accidents, the MASAR team along with the Unions of Municipalities, organized training sessions for the municipal police in road safety, municipal police mandate and first response coordination.At the end of the training sessions, a simulated rescue action was organized with the Lebanese Red Cross, Lebanese Civil Defense and the municipal police. Additionally, local police was equipped with safety kids such as cones, reflective vests, flashlights, extinguishers and road emergency signs.
In addition to the above activities, awareness campaigns were organized by the MASAR-ACCD team at several schools of the Union teaching young residents, teachers and bus drivers on road safety standards. 400 school children attended the interactive awareness session and simulation exercises. 25 teachers participated in the awareness campaigns and expressed their willingness to spread the word to children and youth in their schools by integrating road safety sessions into the school activities
The infrastructural improvements, in particular the asphalting of intersections, visibility elements and road signs, have significantly increased the conditions of the roads in Menieh and thus positively contributing to the safety of pedestrians and drivers. At the same time, the infrastructure components can be maintained and repaired (in case of any future damage) at a reasonable cost.
The engineers working in the Union of Municipalities were included in the project from the very beginning and they, while taking ownership of the project and developing their capacity, will ensure maintenance of the improved infrastructure.
The police increased their awareness of the municipal mandate and improved skills in traffic surveillance and accidents’ first response will increase road safety in the future.