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Maddening traffic jams choke new Dubai

XPRESS reports on rush-hour woes of residents in several areas as they cope with choked roads and stifling traffic jams

  • Discovery GardensImage Credit: Zarina Fernandes/XPRESS
  • Dubai MarinaImage Credit: Abdel-Krim Kalloiuche/Xpress
  • Downtown DubaiImage Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/XPRESS
  • Al Barsha and TecomImage Credit: ABDEL-KRIM KALLOUCHE/XPRESS

Dubai: Traffic during peak hours in many new Dubai communities has become a nightmare. Blame it on construction work, heavy vehicular population or inadequate access points, these areas are invariably clogged, frustrating residents. We look at the rush-hour woes of residents in some popular communities.

Discovery Gardens

Estimated population: 60,000

30 minutes to get on to Shaikh Zayed Road

Choking points: Exits 25, 27

Why: Just two lanes for thousands of motorists

The Discovery Gardens houses 60,000 people in over 26,000 apartments.

Yet when it comes to access, residents say it is a stifling bottleneck.

“The two access points from Shaikh Zayed Road, Exits 25 and 27, are incredibly jampacked,” said Reem, a resident of Street 6.

“There are only two lanes for cars coming out of the community to Shaikh Zayed Road but it takes my husband around 30 minutes to cross the two traffic lights in between.”

Dr Poonam Sharma, a cosmetologist who lives on Street 7, said: “It’s so chaotic every morning and evening. If I have to reach my clinic in Bur Dubai by 9am, I have to leave by 8am. It takes me at least 25 minutes to get from my street to Exit 27 and then 20 minutes to Bur Dubai. It’s the same story in the evenings. If I get late I will be really stuck.

People just don’t follow the lane system here and it’s high time something is done about it.”

The traffic situation worsens on Thursday evenings. Susan Stevens said she used to regularly visit Ibn Battuta Mall with her eight-year-old daughter Angel but not anymore.

“For four years, we would visit the mall every Thursday though we live in Bur Dubai. But now I can’t handle the traffic. Taking the Emirates Road is not an option as access is only though muddy paths,” she said.

Sri, an airline staff living on Street 1, said: “I work in Abu Dhabi and it’s a horrible journey back home on Thursday evenings. As if the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway traffic is not bad enough, I have to contend with the bottleneck at my very doorstep. Vehicles trying to avoid a stagnant pool of water add to the problem.”

Dubai Marina

Estimated population: 75,000

30 minutes to find parking on a weekend

Choking points: JBR, Emaar Drive

Why: Tram works, tailbacks at signals, visitor overflow

Tram works, insufficient roads and an overload of vehicles are together trying the patience of Dubai Marina residents. Located at Interchange 5 between Jebel Ali Port and the Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, the area has an estimated population of 75,000, but added to this are the visitors to The Walk, Marina Walk and beachfront and it can get chaotic.

Ken Culver, an American resident of Al Fattan building at Jumeirah Beach Residence, said it takes him 25 minutes to travel from home to office in the Arenco Tower in Dubai Media City. “The weekends are also miserable. In fact, we had to go round the front of The Walk to get to our parking earlier which would take a good 45 minutes. But around two years back, they opened the back entrance but there’s a lot of construction activity and things are still difficult.”

Not just that, even getting to their own homes is an issue for JBR residents. Dina, a housewife in Rimal 2, said: “Access to our garage is blocked when cars are waiting for the lights to change. To cross the bridge at Dubai Marina, it takes us at least three light changes and we could wait for 15 minutes.”

An engineering student living in Marina Quays said: “Dubai Marina is a vertical community with very little horizontal space, so traffic will always remain a problem. Whether you come in from Shaikh Zayed Road through Emaar Drive or the other side through Al Sofouh – you are bound to get stuck.”

Downtown Burj Khalifa

Estimated population: 100,000

15-20 minutes to hit the main road

Choking point: Emaar Boulevard

Why: Heavy tourist traffic, new constructions

Residents move to Downtown in the belief that it is central with easy access to the main roads in Dubai. But with several building and road works still underway, just getting in and outy can be a big deal.

Hitesh Kumar, a realtor living in 8 Boulevard Walk, said: “When you reach Burj Khalifa Pavilion and take a right towards Business Bay, there is no U-turn on the road. Access to Shaikh Zayed Road has become very difficult as we have to go either from the DIFC underpass or through Al Khail Road.”

He said he leaves 30-45 minutes earlier to reach his office in Al Barsha by 9am as he has to factor in the traffic. “I usually take the Al Khail Road but the Burj View signal allows just three-four cars to pass at every change. So I have to leave early.”

The community, like Dubai Marina, not only has to contend with the vehicles of residents but also those of tourists.

The 500-acre development has an estimated population of over 100,000, with some 1.37 million visitors descending on it every year.

“It’s hell during evening hours, especially during the weekends. Its almost as if the entire town is converging on Dubai Mall and for us to get in and out of our own homes can be a big deal,” said Trevor, a resident of Standpoint.

Another resident of Tower 3 of the Burj Residences said: “The road capacity is not sufficient for the community. There are so many new buildings also coming up which will only add to the strain on the roads.

The Emaar Boulevard is a nightmare whenever there is an event as it gets blocked. I remember when the parade on December 2 took place, I had to camp out at a coffee shop for four hours before I could get home. Otherwise, it’s a great community to be in.”

Jumeirah Lake Towers

Estimated population: 50,000

20 minutes to come out to Shaikh Zayed Road

Choking points: Roundabout, exit from Shaikh Zayed Road

Why: Insufficient lanes

Jumeirah Lake Towers is home to 50,000 people in 61 commercial and residential towers. The development has over 100 retail outlets as well. But like Dubai Marina, residents said access to this vertical community is disproportionate.

Alessandra Carletti, who lives in the Green Lakes Towers, said: “Traffic is a disaster here. We are in the S cluster in the first ring which is always congested. The roundabout especially is terrible, so is the exit to Shaikh Zayed Road between the two Metro stations.

“I need a margin of 20 minutes just to get out of this 500-metre stretch.”

Hannan, a saleswoman who works in the area said, “The situation is so bad it begs for some policing. Someone needs to control traffic at the roundabout during the mornings and evenings. They need to help at the pedestrian crossing and ease the traffic flow.”

Another resident said people barge into the roundabout whether there is enough room or not to exit to Shaikh Zayed Road. There is a continuous stream of cars from the left which blocks those in the lanes that actually need to go left.

Al Barsha/Tecom

Estimated population: Unknown

15-20 minutes at traffic signals

Choking points: Umm Suqeim Street, Tecom exit

Why: Roadworks, motorists changing lanes at exits

The recently opened interchange linking Hessa Road, Al Khail Road and Al Barsha with Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road is a boon for residents in surrounding areas. But residents using the Umm Suqeim Road say it’s a ordeal.

Al Barsha has two main zones with villas, apartments and commercial complexes, including Mall of the Emirates. There are many schools located in the area which adds to the number of vehicles coming in and out.

Debbie Steedman, a Briton who lives behind Mall of the Emirates, said: “The Umm Suqeim Street is very congested as the highway is being widened. I just sit and sit in the car as traffic is so slow.

Another resident said the area around Dubai American Academy is a war zone during school hours and her daughter goes 45 minutes early to avoid the jams.

Traffic can also be a snarl near The Greens during rush hour and weekends. French photographer Jean Paul Geutier who lives in the Al Hawaii Building in Tecom said he gets stuck at the Greens exit on Shaikh Zayed Road and the danger of cars colliding here is high. “You will see the first tailback at the JLT exit and then there’s always a long queue at the Tecom/Greens exit.”

He said part of the problem is that people are constantly changing lanes, either to take a left into the tunnel to Dubai Media City or a right into the Tecom area.

Angie, who lives in the Lakes said, “There are many eateries in Al Barsha which we like to visit. But parking is always an issue and the signal near Bikanerwala is very crowded.”


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9 June 2013 10:33jump to comments