Thursday, October 02, 2008

The RTA gets it wrong again

Back in July I posted a sarcastic piece about the street address system in Dubai.

Not for one moment do I think it had anything to do with our beloved RTA doing what I suggested.

Nevertheless, the RTA has news of the new addressing system they are introducing on their website, here.

They're doing the right, the obvious, thing. Giving streets names and buildings sequential numbers.

Great, well done, it's what we need.

Then comes the implementation, which takes us on to another avoidable problem I've talked about many times before - inaccurate, misleading, downright dangerous road signage. Signage which contributes to crashes.

As a report in The National tells us:

...the first phase of implementing the new system of street names has confused motorists and even caused a few road accidents.

Signs along Sheikh Zayed Road, the city’s main thoroughfare, which previously displayed the names of well-known areas such as Umm Suqeim, Al Safa and Jumeirah, have been replaced by boards directing traffic to the areas’ main arterial roads, some of which have been given new names.

They've named various roads, names which no-one knows because they haven't told us. Then they remove signs which show the way to suburbs and replace them with signs showing the way to the roads we've never heard of.

Mistake number one: motorists need signs showing the way to suburbs, the name of the road at that stage is irrelevant. To change them is a mistake.

Mistake number two: the signs have been changed with no warning, confusing motorists:

...motorists on Sheikh Zayed Road have been baffled by the new signs...'I nearly collided with another car the other day when I was trying to decipher these signs to find my exit'...hit another vehicle as he craned his neck to read the new sign...

We do need the new addressing system. But we don't need it translated to road signs on our major highways. They need to be signs to suburbs.

The road names simply need to be prominently displayed on the roads themselves, so that they can be easily seen and read by motorists. And the owner of each building needs to be informed of its street number so that the number can be prominently displayed on the building.

The National reports the story here.

Then another example of bad planning. The two month gridlock in Dubai Marina which I've been ranting about since the end of July.

All roads but one closed, so drivers trying to get out of the Marina, to any destination, were jammed onto one small local road. It took literally hours every morning to move two kilometres.

It was unnecessary. There were two things which could have been done. One, the perfectly useable bridge which was closed off could have been opened. Some drivers were getting around the barriers and using it anyway, so there was no reason not to open it.

More importantly, the exit onto Sheikh Zayed Road to Jebel Ali/Abu Dhabi should not have been closed until the alternative exit was opened.

After two months of frustration, lost work time, missed appointments, added pollution, it is now open.

It's part of the new giant Interchange 5.5, as it's currently called, at the Jebel Ali end of Dubai Marina.

A flyover takes you across SZR and loops back in the direction of Dubai. A slip road joins SZR in the Jebel Ali/Abu Dhabi direction.

This interchange was always needed, it was a serious omission when the Marina was designed and full marks to the RTA for correcting the mistake.

If only they'd planned the changes properly to avoid the problems of the last two months.


Mars said...

i've reached a point of apathy where i just sit back and giggle each time the RTA does something new.

Dubai Sunshine said...

Very very confusing...I'm really not liking the new road naming system...It sucks! said...

I agree with the road naming issues brought up but at least there are roads that have names. Living here in Barsha, I really cant say where I live. In case of an emergency, I wouldn't be able to tell the services where I live other than follow the Metro line to a make-shift roundabout.

And then there's no street lights but I guess that's a completely different issue.