Sunday, April 29, 2007

Here I go again...

There's a difference of opinion brewing up between the police and the RTA, according to Gulf News.

They headline the story:

Dubai Police and RTA on collision course

Brig Mohammad Saif Al Zafein (lef), Director of
Traffic Department and Maitha Obaid Bin Udai,
CEO of the Traffic and Roads Agency.

I'm sure I remember other occasions when they haven't seen eye to eye too.
The proposed minimum speed limit on highways is another example of wooly thinking. It's not thought through properly. It's not the answer to the problem.

But this is an almost insignificant part of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that the RTA, and the three Master Developers of 'New Dubai', have destroyed the vision for Dubai.

And I don't say "possibly" or "potentially" or "unless they change tack". It's already too late. The damage can't be undone.

I'm talking about the appalling mis-management of the roads, the unbelievably incompetent 'planning'. 'New Dubai' is a fraction of what it will be but it's gridlocked already.

Worse, when you eventually get through the traffic there's nowhere to park.

The pat answer that 'when the infrastructure's complete it'll all be sorted out' simply isn't true. Try to visit a company at Media/Internet City. You simply can't park - there isn't even anywhere near enough space for the people who work there to park.

Underground car parks can't be built, the buildings are already existing. There's no space for multi-storey car parks unless entire existing new buildings are demolished.

Try to visit someone in Dubai Marina. A tiny number of the final total of buildings are finished and occupied, yet it's chaos. There's not even enough space for the residents to park, so cars are on all the footpaths, the roundabouts and blocking the roads. Visitors stand no chance.

Parking at Dubai Marina

Try to visit the restaurants at Phase 1, it's a great location and a great way to spend an evening - there's no parking space.

The stretch of Al Sufouh Road from Jumeirah Beach Residence, and remember that no-one has moved in there yet, to the traffic light junction outside Mina Seyahi is solid for hours morning and evening. It takes nearly an hour to go two or three kilometres.

Gridlock on Al Sufouh Road.

I know this is the result of new roadworks - I wrote about it a couple of days ago. it's yet another example of roads that had been completed, at great expense and great disruption, only to be torn up a few months later. This particular bottleneck will get easier as the roadwork is finished.


The road to & from the vast JBR plus the apartment blocks and hotels opposite it has to cross the Marina sea outlet - and it has a bridge with only two lanes, one in either direction.

A small part of Jumeirah Beach Residence.

A development of about 10,000 apartments and they think a single lane bridge will be adequate! Which genius came up with that?!

The road leading into this area from the other side of the Marina, past the Diamond Towers, is also solid. Added to this congestion, a newly opened flyover on the new Junction 5 is pouring traffic into the small, local, residential traffic light junction outside Marina Heights tower. That's another one that will soon be dug up and changed because their 'plans' didn't work. Although this one has very little space in which do do anything else.

Congestion the other side of the Marina.

It's all very well having 12 lane freeways to speed traffic along, but when it tries to get off it hits a bottleneck. There are towers all around the bottlenecks, and they're owned by individual, mostly international, investors. Unlike locally owned small properties, they can't simply be demolished and the owners compensated.

There's no space now to solve the traffic crisis.

The Metro is another example of the incompetent 'planning'.

People in the residential and commercial areas of 'New Dubai' will be kilometres from a station. But only three stations, at the end of the lines, have parking spaces!

People are not going to walk kilometres to a Metro station, even in the good weather. So do they expect people to drive kilometres out of their way to get to a station with parking facilities? If they did it would only add to the road congestion, not help it. But of course people won't do that - they'll just carry on using their car as before and ignore the Metro.

The whole traffic/parking situation is a disaster and it's the 'planners' who've caused it. And it has, as I said before, destroyed the vision for Dubai.

If people can't move around easily to carry out their business, businesses won't want to locate here. If people can't get to & from work easily they won't want to work here. If exhibitors and visitors can't easily get to exhibitions, and can't park when they do arrive, our conference/exhibition business is damaged. If people can't get to attractions, to restaurants, to shops then those businesses suffer. Tourists won't come if they're going to spend half their holiday in traffic jams.

Look at the traffic & parking chaos if you try to visit a business on Sheikh Zayed Road. We get the same negative reports from exhibitions and conferences at the Trade Centre. I've already mentioned Media/Internet City and Dubai Marina. None of the other vast developments are ready yet, but you can bet they'll have exactly the same problems.

And still we have yet more buildings going up with inadequate parking and inadequate access roads.

What's even more infuriating is that it needn't have been.

They started with a blank canvas, an area of empty desert. They had no historic buildings or streets to preserve, there was nothing there. They had the luxury of empty space to plan on, something that very few planners around the world have.

And they got it competely, disastrously wrong.

The Gulf News story that started me off ranting is here.


trailingspouse said...

I drove around the Marina yesterday and was quite horrified, not having visited for a few months. As more buildings are completed and new ones started, the inadequacy of the roads and parking is becoming blindingly obvious.

The only solution that I can see is to fill the damn thing in (the Marina) and build a highway/transit corridor down the middle. They've already done that on the Palm. The "canal view" apartments now have a Metro line running past their living room windows.

Seabee said...

I said the same thing the other day as I was trying to negotiate it - their two choices are 1/ demolish JBR or 2/ fill in the Marina to make a road and a multi storey car park

Anonymous said...

just read your 'spot on' post. Its a horrible shame that the opportunity to create an amazing city of the future has most likely been wasted due to a lack of common sense or plain old greed?? I mean planning hundreds of skyscrapers packed in a tiny area with insufficient roads and hardly any parking what do 'they' expect people to do jump from tower to tower??

Syed Faraz Mahmood said...

I think they are planning to flood the whole dubai marina converting it into Venice of UAE :), no roads only boats :)

Buildings in the marina locality are being developed at a very fast pace. now people are moving into JBR as its pretty much completed. with existing roads network , it will be difficult to accommodate the traffic needs. I would like to point out another thing, on JBR road from Grosvenor House to Sheraton Jumeirah, after 2 signals , near final roundabout there is a U turn, which is although completed has been blocked for a very long time. this makes reaching on the left side (AlSahab etc) a longer router as all vehicles have to go to the end (roundabout ) and then they make a u-turn. It would be if there were 2 u turns for Al-sahab to Sheraton segment.