The rehabilitation project of Jeanne d'Arc Street, a major thoroughfare connecting Bliss Street to Hamra Street, aimed to mset a model for accessible and pedestrian-friendly streets in the city. As a joint effort of the Beirut Municipality, the AUB Neighborhood Initiative and the Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service, the project brought together residents and businesses on Jeanne d'Arc, urban designers, and accessibility advocates in a collaborative and participatory design process.
In the research phase, anthropologist Samar Kanafani, conducted extensive interviews with neighbors on the street to determine the problems they faced on the street and their aspirations for a better neighborhood. Kanafani also filmed an AUB student who is a wheelchair user, as he attempted to go from AUB campus to a shop near campus. A visually-impaired pedestrian also helped document the many obstructions and dangers to walking on the street.
All governmental approvals and budget were secured in 2016. A Town Hall meeting at the Municipality in April 2016 presented the main design elements for public discussion (JA_Townhall Meeting Presentation ). Construction was due to start mid-2016 , but it was delayed due to the bureaucratic red-tape procedures. Finally, the works, started in July 2017 and ended in February 2018. Today, the street has a wide sidewalk with a safe passage, raised intersections, sidewalk protection system, special sidewalk tiling at intersections for the visually impaired, bicycle and motorcycle parking racks, benches, trees and proper lighting and signage. It is easy to navigate for people with wheelchairs, strollers, visual impairments, and all pedestrians. We hope that Jeanne d'Arc street will set a model for the Municipality to follow in other streets around Beirut.
Jeanne d'Arc Street today