Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stupid, stupid me.

For a long time I've been complaining that the RTA is making it more difficult for motorists to get around when they should be making it easier.

Today I was reading the news that the trams we were threatened with some time ago are for real and work will start in January. Initially the trams will run for 15 kilometres along Al Sufouh Road from Madinat Jumeirah to Dubai Marina, and around both sides of the Marina. The route is shown very well in this Gulf News graphic:

Thanks largely to Salik these roads are jammed solid morning and evening already. Losing a third of the road space to a tramline - plus the inevitable closures & diversions while the work is being done - will make it all but impossible.

Then a blinding flash. The light came on. The penny dropped. It all suddenly became clear.

Why I haven't seen the blindingly obvious for so long I don't know.

It's to make driving difficult to the point of impossible.
That's the plan. Always has been. I simply didn't see it.

I stupidly thought the integrated traffic plan included private cars. It obviously doesn't.

It's so simple. Make it so frustrating, so annoying, so time-consuming to use a private car and we'll all have to use the Metro/tram/buses/ferries.

The plan is simply to drive us all off the roads completely.

An RTA official is quoted as saying: "The tram project will encourage people in these posh areas to use alternate mode of transport instead of personal cars."

Encourage? We'll have no option.

By the way, I'm sure I must have raised the point when I talked about a tramline in a posting ages ago - can you imagine the danger, the chaos with Dubai's motorists and trams on the same road?


Keefieboy said...

Well, SeaBee, if that is the plan then good on 'em. I'm now living in a city that has a fantastic Metro network, reliable buses and an urban density that makes it viable for me to walk to wherever I need to go (plus, of course, they've arranged the climate so that you can take a hike without suffering heatstroke). I no longer own or need a car, and my blood pressure is just about back to normal!

Seabee said...

Keefieboy I agree, many cities, especially in Europe, have public transport and urban density that mean it's better not to have a car. Dubai's 'old' city centre is like that, I usually park in Shindagah and then walk to Bur Dubai or abra across to Deira and walk around there.
But Dubai is more like LA now, spread out for miles over a big area and public transport simply can't service every area adequately - especially all of 'New Dubai'. And then there's the weather...
Dubai has to have a combination of efficient public transport and private motoring. The aim has to be for people to be able to get to where they want to be easily, efficiently and as quickly as possible.

LDU said...

It looks like the RTA over there is more incompetent than the dept of community services down here lol

Seabee said...

They're on a par, LDU!

Zafar said...

Just a different point of view. I believe we are suffering today because we live in time and age where we want all things quickly. We want results "yesterday" we want solutions quickly and immediately. We compare ourselves or our surroundings with Europe or the First world and forget that they developed themselves long ago. The excellent tram, tube or underground railway systems combined with the bus network that serves their nation was built more than 150 years ago. "The first line started operating in London from January 1863" so it must have been built before that.

We have to understand that there were not many road networks at that time nor did the lines of automobiles running around here and there. The population was in control and people were not in hurry at all. RTA is developing the system (I hope we can call it a system once ready) with all the hardships that others probably did not had when they were building.

Lets wait for couple of hundred years rather only for 50 years after the lines have started operating, I am sure the only thing people would remember is how good or bad is this system. The hardships faced by us during the constructions will not be remembered.

Our elders planted trees and we eat fruit today same is true here. Few of us may not live to enjoy the system that is being built here but it is being built for the future generations.

Give RTA some credit for the good work though it could have been done in little more organized manner.

Seabee said...

Zafar, the point is that Dubai could and should have avoided the problems and it could have done so by good planning and management.

There are two reasons why the mess we now have should never have happened.

The announcement of what was going to happen was made by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in 2001 and he made it perfectly clear what was planned. Various authorities did not listen or plan for the development.

The two reasons are precisely because Dubai is developing later than many other cities. That was our big advantage. We could and should have learned from the mistakes other countries have made, particularly with traffic management, road design, parking, public transport.

Second, we had a blank canvass to work with. Empty desert. Example, Dubai Marina which was built where there was nothing. But what we have is bad planning of the road system with insufficient ways in and out, not enough bridges, not enough parking even for the residents of the towers, let alone visitors.

We should have seen from other countries and cities what the problems would be, and we had the space to plan, build and avoid those same problems here.

Zafar said...

Seabee; do agree with your point thats why I said it could have been done in little more organized manner, instead of digging up the whole city it could have been done in different stages keeping the public comfort in mind.

I compare the situation with my own country, Pakistan, atleast authorities here are more organized and some sort of planning is carried out. Public comfort is deffinitely not the priority as compared to showing off that Dubai is beautiful and has every thing to offer a tourist can ask for.