Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bankova Street

The temporary closing of Bankova St. caused a minor scandal. The city authorities (or was it the presidential authorities?) had closed the street last spring to some repairs. It was closed for all of the summer and most of this fall. Bankova is a short street where the presidential administrative offices sit. During the Orange Revolution it was a chief site of protests. It was a bad sign, when soon after the revolution, the authorities closed the street. While it has always been a site of protests, it is also an important cross street for pedestrians in the Lippy neighborhood.

In remonting the street, the authorities put up a large, iron fence and raised the street level up to the level of the sidewalk, effectively creating a large plaza. It is very nice and fairly well done. Unfortunately, the government kept the gates closed and the new plaza was barred from the general public. The public relations downside of this was tremendous. There have been protests against the closure for the past few weeks. A protest led by people living in the neighborhood was ignored, but a smaller, later, one by the Pora folks apparently got enough attention. It gates were open Tuesday evening and have been opened since. One fun fact, the Kyiv Post focused its lead editorial this week on the subject. Of course it was a bit late. Even prior to publication, even prior to the final edit of the paper, the gates have been opened and people were free to walk down Bankova.

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