Dubai street names take confusing turn

New street signs in posh districts of Dubai leave motorists at a crossroads

  • Way to go: The sign leading to Jumeirah Islands now reads Al Worood 3 St Image Credit: Francois Nel/XPRESS
  • Down by the meadows: No need to pull out your hair — your’re headed to the Meadows Image Credit: Francois Nel/XPRESS
  • Where do you go: Did you know this sign points to The Lakes and Emirates Hills? Image Credit: Francois Nel/XPRESS
  • Left, right and centre: Left is Jumeirah Islands, right is Jumeirah Park and ahead is JVC Image Credit: FRANCOIS NEL/XPRESS

Dubai: New Dubai residents and visitors are getting lost in a maze of confusing new road names that have replaced easy-to-understand community-based names.

Previously, all street signs in new Dubai’s roads had names of communities — The Springs, The Meadows, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Emirates Hills, The Lakes, Jumeirah Islands -- which made it relatively easy for visitors and residents to find their way around.

But now new signs have sprung up all over New Dubai driving motorists around the bend in trying to figure out where Al Naseem St or, say, Al Sohool St leads.

“I’ve been living here for a long time so I know my way around,” said Ben, a resident of The Lakes. “But visitors are simply lost with these new signs. The street names do not reflect the actual names of the communities.”

In the past, all signs had clear directions to communities, where many Western expatriates live. “New Dubai is made up of various gated communities. But if the names of these communities are not reflected on the road signs, people are simply going to lose their way,” said Annie, a resident of Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT).

She cited the example of the road leading to JLT which now reads Al Sarayat St. “Previously it read just ‘JLT Road’ – which easily showed the way for people to this development. Now, if someone is unaware that Al Sarayat St leads to JLT, they may think they have lost their way,” said Sarah.

Similarly the sign on the road leading to Jumeirah Islands (JI) now reads Al Worood 3 St. “I was initially confused after reading the new street name,” said M.M., a long-time JI resident.

Access to Jumeirah Park and Jumeirah Village Circle have opened up recently. None of them are mentioned on the signs leading to these communities.

But another resident said the new street names are fine, as they are part of Dubai’s cultural heritage. These names, he said, aren’t as bad as tongue-twisters found in Nordic or Far-Eastern countries (like Skólavörðustígur in Iceland or DàhúshanzhuangJi in Taipei).

Sam, a Meadows resident is, however, not convinced. “A visitor will get stuck, as they cannot relate to these names.

“When you take the road from Choithrams (supermarket) in The Meadows towards Jumeirah Islands, you will see three boards that read — Al Worood 2 St, Al Asayel St., Al Wajeha Al Bahriah and Al Worood 3 St. How do you know which one leads to Jumeirah Park, Jumeirah Islands and Jumeirah Village Circle?,” asked a resident.

What’s new:

Al Worood 3 St. leads you to Jumeirah Islands

Al Sohool St. leads you to The Meadows

First Al Khail St, Hadaeq Mohammed Bin Rashid name boards leads you to The Lakes community and Emirates Hills

Your comments

  • Faisal

    Aug 22, 2013 11:25

    Street naming is good thing, and now almost everybody owns smartphones/gps enabled handhelds, still if not convinced, residents can inform visitors to take xyz street. What's wrong with that. Dubai is developing rapidly. Its not small town where you can give address by landmark anymore.

  • Natalie

    Aug 22, 2013 11:12

    I agree these roads signs are very confusing and I have lived here for 10 years! I can understand if Dubai wants to give some street names in order to help people locate destinations, however removing the names of communities from road signs is very confusing. I don't understand the logic of this. e.g: do we now call the Meadows Al Sohool. I can see this been a magical mystery tour for visitors to Dubai or new residents and good luck to delivery drivers.

  • Jayaraj B

    Aug 22, 2013 10:30

    Thanks for this report. There are road names - but in some crucial places they are absent. It is a driver's horror to be shown a direction and the orphaned without any further follow up directions in new roads. Can a new driver reach Media city, Marina, or JBR following road signs, without GPS? Simple road names, about a 10,000 more direction road signs and more importantly zone names are desperately needed. Example - from AAA000 to ZZZ999. This will provide precise land marking and reduce accidents.

  • Lynette

    Aug 22, 2013 9:24

    This indeed is really confusing! May be the authorities should put the old names in bracket against or below the new names for some period of time, till people get familiar with the new names.

  • JJ

    Aug 22, 2013 9:12

    This happens because there was no study on human behavior, street naming and wayfinding. There are consultants in that could have helped and created an effective strategy. The city is more of a mess now. The plans for the address system are going to be the same.

  • Habeeb

    Aug 22, 2013 8:48

    There was no need to change the earlier street names which were depicting proper and actual landmarks in Dubai. I am certain that RTA have too much budget so this is one of the ways to just spend the money before the year ends. Call in some overseas guests and ask them to drive down from the trade center to the JLT or palm without the use of a GPS, and only using these new silly signboards....lets see how much time it takes them. loool.

  • anonymous

    Aug 22, 2013 6:18

    lol,wasn't all this expected my dear residents?

  • MC

    Aug 22, 2013 5:11

    It may take a little while to get used to, but it's a step in the right direction. If you want to westernise Dubai, you'll have to name the streets, and refer to directions according to street names - as everywhere else in the Western world.

  • Fariba

    Aug 21, 2013 10:54

    Thank you for bringing it up! I live in this area,but visiting neighborhood areas I have been lost few times by these strange names. I am sure there are easier names than these.

  • Yazen AK

    Aug 21, 2013 9:42

    Since when are street names supposed to give directions? Street names and direction signage are two completely different things. I am sure there is more than one road that leads to your community and cannot all be named the same and what about roads in between two different communities?

Latest Comment

Street naming is good thing, and now almost everybody owns smartphones/gps enabled handhelds, still if not convinced, residents can inform visitors to take xyz street. What's wrong with that. Dubai is developing rapidly. Its not small town where you can give address by landmark anymore.


22 August 2013 11:59 jump to comments