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A TALE OF MEKELLE CITY SQUARES AND STREETS: A CASE STUDY OF ROMANAT DISTRICT [Abstract ID: 0214-02]
Romanat district is the most prominent area of Mekelle city, where many residents flow from all corners of the city to perform different activities. However, district squares in Mekelle are like roundabouts in that they are primarily designed to slow traffic flow. Thus, the streets function as traffic channels that direct people from point A to point B without providing them an interest to stay and walk in the district's squares and streets for an extended period of time. Due to the square’s structure, which does not welcome leisure stays outdoors, one can observe numerous pedestrians searching for, or moving into, indoor catering facilities, where they will spend their leisure time or wait for someone from the square. Accordingly, everyone has to order and pay for something in order to take a seat in those catering facilities. This raises the question of affordability. In addition, one can also observe a preference for a motorized mode of transportation through the district, as opposed to walking. This results in high traffic congestion as these routes belong to the primary public routes of the city. This congestion may create conflict and feelings of annoyance between pedestrians and vehicles, in addition to pollute the environment. In the future, this may create a potential threat to vehicles needing an eased circulation and movement, as is currently experienced by vehicle drivers in Addis Ababa.