Saturday, January 19, 2008

Info on road plans

Lack of information is a real problem in Dubai, which is particularly frustrating because it's so easily avoidable.

So it's good to see that in EmBiz247 today there's some information about the RTA's plans for our roads between now and 2020, including graphics of the planned system.

The RTA say that by 2020 they'll have spent Dh44 billion building 500km of additional roads with interchanges and bridges to the strategic plan developed with international consultants Parsons-USA.

One of the EmBiz247 graphics gives an idea of the main roads that we'll have by 2020:

By 2020 Dubai's population is predicted to increase from the present 1.5 million to over 5 million, the urban area will quadruple from what we have now and they say the number of vehicles is expected to increase from the present 700,000 to 5.3 million.

I find that last figure difficult to believe because it means a vehicle for every person. Currently we have roughly one for every two people and by 2020 a public transport system will be up and running. Still, over-estimating the traffic is a good thing - if the roads are built to carry twice as much traffic as there is we won't have congestion.

One of the bottlenecks, the Creek, will have new bridges raising the number of traffic lanes from the current 40 to 100 by 2020. I think, though, that the Creek won't be the bottleneck that it is now because the 5 million people will be spread out over a big area and most will not be travelling in or through the old city of Dubai.

We're also going to have a series of ring roads and bypasses - what good news that is and a critical part of any good road system. The principle is simple - if people don't want to go into a city give them a way to avoid it. The old city of Dubai will have inner and outer ring roads, but so will Dubailand, Business Bay and the new Jebel Ali airport.

With the increasing amount of accommodation coming onto the market in Dubai over the next few years, and with rents being controlled, we should also see a lot of the commuters from Sharjah and the northern emirates moving back to Dubai. The rents in the other emirates will, I believe, begin to close the gap on Dubai's rents anyway. The big morning and evening commute is one of the major causes of the traffic congestion, with literally hundreds of thousands of vehicles travelling in the same direction at the same time.

In any case, next year the new outer bypass joining the borders of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi is due to open, meaning that drivers not needing to come into Dubai won't have to.

There are going to be 95 new interchanges built in the next 12 years, we're told. Some are presumably small but there are some huge interchanges coming, something like the enormous Interchange 5 at Dubai Marina. Causing chaos at the moment as they're being built are the new interchange replacing Defence Roundabout and the Ittihad Road interchange where I have to go to take my car into Galadari Mazda.

We also have Interchange 6 well under way at the Jebel Ali end of Dubai Marina. Why that wasn't part of the original Marina plan I find astonishing. The original plan had something like 100,000 people living in the 4km-long development all trying to get in and out at one end.

Interchange 6

There are three things not mentioned in the article that cause huge problems and which I sincerely hope the RTA and Parsons-USA are also addressing.

One, the mish-mash of UK and US road systems used together. It doesn't work.

Two, signage. Misleading or non-existent signage and signs placed too close to lane changes or junctions so that motorists have to make sudden, late changes in direction.

Three, the many places at junctions and interchanges where there isn't enough distance to safely cross lanes to reach where you have to go.


LDU said...

It would be nice if the other states of the UAE go through the development Dubai has had.

Seabee said...

LDU, they are all undertaking huge developments too.

Keefieboy said...

Did they renumber the interchanges? Interchange six is for Jebel Ali vilage and The Gardens. This one should be 5.65.

Seabee said...

Ah, the inevitable confusion there keefie. The new Dubai Marina Interchange Six is actually 5.5 but taxi drivers recognise it as either.

I suspect the RTA thinks we'll get confused if they change the numbers on the existing interchanges so they kept them and just add decimal points to all the new ones in between - but the bloody things never had numbers on them anyway.