UAE | Society

All cramped up and nowhere to park in Sharjah

Left with no choice, motorists squeeze cars in any spot they find, risking fines and dents

  • By Abhishek Sengupta, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 August 8, 2013
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit: GULF NEWS ARCHIVES
  • Dents or fines don’t deter them: Motorists don’t mind scratches, dents or fines as long as they get parking.
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Dubai: Parking woes are driving Sharjah residents up the wall.

On a good day, 42-year-old Fillipino, Rodel Navarro (name changed) usually has a half-mile trudge home, sometimes longer, across a bridge from the sandy area near the sidewalks across Al Nahda street after parking his old Nissan Sunny for the night.

However, his trouble do not end there. Chances are the next morning he may find one more dent or scratch on his car, if not another fine by Sharjah Police.

Like Navarro, thousands of harried motorists in the emirate have little or no choice but squeeze their cars in any spot they can find, risking a scratch of two and even fines.

Constant struggle

“It’s been a constant struggle since I moved into a new building in Al Nahda some six months ago. I have struggled to find parking space every single day. I am forced to park in the large open sandy area, but my car’s underbelly is badly damaged as a result and there are several dents on the exterior owing to the way cars are parked next to each other,” said Raj, an Indian expat living near the densely populated Al Nahda round-about.

“But it’s not just a night-time problem,” said Ajaz Ahmad, a resident of the Abu Shagara area.

“The other day my guests missed iftar at my home by about 20 minutes while looking for a space to park their car. It’s become a constant embarrassment for me every time I call people home. There’s no free or paid parking anywhere, anytime,” he added.

Lack of parking lots in many buildings across Sharjah is only adding to the woes. And those who do offer such facilities quickly run out of space. “We have 800 units in our building, but parking spaces are allocated for only 540 cars and there’s usually quite a long waiting list for people willing to pay and park,” said a building manager wishing anonymity.

The same goes for people willing to ‘pay and park’ on the roads, with space shortage driving motorists around the bend. Back in 2008, officials reportedly announced they would build 40 paid multi-storey car parks. One of them collapsed halfway into construction and the construction of another was stalled midway. The status of the rest couldn’t be clarified immediately by Sharjah Municipality when XPRESS checked with them last month.

However a municipality spokesperson confirmed they were looking to transfer more free parking into paid parking. “We are currently putting a number of open spaces under study in order to transfer it into public parking lots. We are facilitating the procedures for investment of open spaces as private paid parking areas,” the spokesperson said.

The ground reality however continues to hit residents hard on a daily basis.

“There used to be an empty car park near our apartment, but that was taken over by the municipality several years ago for building a multi-storey car park. Unfortunately the work’s not progressed beyond a few levels and now the space is completely gone,” says a resident of Al Majaz. “Add to that, the nearby sandy area we used for parking now houses the waste and scrap disposed from the construction of that project and remains cordoned off. Only God help us to find a parking,” he added.

Comments (4)

Your comments
  1. Added 07:29 August 8, 2013

    Parking at Abu shagarah (Sharjah) is really painful. Abu shagarah is known for used car business, and all the available parking spaces are occupied all the time by used cars. Even the paid parking zones are not available for the residents. It is a fact that many times the residents are fined for parking cars on the pavements, but infinite number of used cars are parked on the pavements. Even during emergency situations, non-availability of parking leads people to frustration. In Dubai, a separate area only for used cars are allotted in Al Aweer. Similarly, Government authorities should ask the used car business to move out of residential areas like Abu Shagarah to a more convenient and non-residential area so that both parties - the residents of Abu Shagarah and the used car business people - will be benefited from it.

    SK Nair, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 05:42 August 8, 2013

    Thank God this topic is up. Sharjah Munc. Officers should see if there is parking or not before giving fines on Friday and Public holidays. There are no parking available. It is very frustrating for people who have bought the cards for parking and yet they get fined when they park double. Once I argued I have a valid car parking card. Where should I park. The response from one of the officer was I don't know but if you park here I will give you fine. That was my last time when I bought the parking card. There is no point of buying the card. I try to find parking in sand areas atleast there is peace of mind. It is matter of Dh200 fine for the Officer but it is frustration for consumers. Even though we are on the right path yet we get fined for no parking in Majaz area.

    faisal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 00:48 August 8, 2013

    The situation is getting worse in the populated areas of Sharjah and the municipal authorities are doing little to help. Take for example the case of Abu Shagarah where until a month back people could park in the huge vacant space in front of the old municipal buildings. This area has now been declared a no-parking area and there are at least a 100 cars more fighting for the already limited parking space. This is over and above the menace of the parking taken by used car dealerships. A suggestion would be for the municipality to make te whole area a paid parking zone and let the residents pay and find parking. which will result in more revenue and also peace of mind for residents who would otherwise burn a lot of fuel looking for parking, sometimes up to 40 minutes.

    NP, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 21:37 August 7, 2013

    The biggest problem in the Abu-Shagarah area of Sharjah is the large number of used cars for sale. The owners of these used cars have taken over all the public space and left very little for residents of the area. The used car market also contributes greatly to the insane amount of traffic in the area which occurs due to people stopping their cars in the middle of the road to negotiate the selling price of their cars.

    Yousuf, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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