Istanbul’s mayor Kadir Topbaş’s announced recently that work would begin in 2011 to close Taksim Square in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district to traffic. It will be for pedestrians only. Many roads in the area will be moved underground and bus stations and metro entrances relocated.
The mayor said in his announcement that both Mete Street, which runs in front of the Atatürk Cultural Center and the street curving from Tarlabaşı Boulevard to Sıraselviler Avenue will be opened to pedestrians. Traffic will be moved to a lower level and metro exits will be relocated from the center of the square to side streets. City buses that currently stop in the square will be removed.
Taksim Square is a central transit point, providing connections for buses, minibuses, taxis, the metro system and the funicular.
Architect Haydar Karabey criticized the way decisions are made about the city. “Around the world, these [decisions] are made through public consultations. Projects are put on display; people discuss and vote on them,” he said to the newspaper Radikal.
“Taksim Square is ours. It is the Republic square, the May Day square. It is a place for protests and entertainment. Acting like a ruler and saying, ‘I am doing this in Taksim,’ without asking anyone about anything is extremely wrong. I, as an Istanbul resident, would like to know what will happen.”
More information about the planned transformation of Taksim square in this article in Hurriyet daily News