The common sight of university students crossing after alighting at the bus stop next to Amity University in Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) without a designated pedestrian crossing poses hazard to both drivers and pedestrians. Problem soars to grave levels during morning rush hours.
Students from nearby universities drive recklessly despite the presence of existing control measures such as speed humps and roundabouts in the vicinity of this lay-by.
What is more agonising is the lack of sensitivity in drivers, both students and people coming to work at office hubs located close by, to slow down near bus laybys opposite universities in and around DIAC. This general trend occurs across most universities but this trend is of grave concern near this particular lay-by where pedestrians and university students have to cross four lanes, two in each direction, unlike other universities where there exists only two road lanes.
A few days ago, I was driving and caught unawares by nearly a dozen of university students who appeared out of nowhere onto the road lane. This is a common problem stemming due to the parallel parking lane behind the Amity University bus stop lay-by.
The parallel parking lane is completely occupied by vehicles, such as mini vans and four-wheel-drive cars, all of which obscure view of oncoming vehicles to notice any students in the bus lay-by ahead or notice any pedestrians stepping out from between cars parked in the parallel parking lane.
Lack of a sidewalk beside the lay-by and parallel parking lane behind only compounds the problem by prompting university students and other pedestrians to walk on the edge of the road onto the road lane by posing a risk to their lives due to oncoming vehicles.
What I also find appalling is the lack of general courtesy among drivers to slow down near this particular bus stop and drivers speeding downhill a sloped road nearby. The downhill slope at the bend is nearly 200 metres away from the lay-by and cannot be used as a valid excuse to speed up here. A distance of 200 metres is enough for any vehicle to slow down.
A speed hump does exist near the roundabout ahead of the lay-by, but, it does little to deter reckless student drivers but there doesn’t exist a pedestrian crossing.
A designated pedestrian crossing would make students and pedestrians more visible to drivers. A raised crosswalk near the lay-by would do better as it could double up as a noticeable traffic speed calming hump while functioning as a pedestrian crossing. Moreover, it would be much safer for students residing in nearby dorms to easily cross these roads for their personal errands.
Widening the shoulder of the parallel parking lane behind the lay-by would seem unfeasible so building a sidewalk strip from beside the lay-by and extending it to the end of the parking lane could provide room for pedestrians to walk on it rather than forcing them to step onto the road lanes. Presence of sidewalk could deter pedestrians from stepping out between cars in the parallel parking lane.
The above measures could go a long way without any student or other road users having to endanger their lives.
Gulf News approached Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), regarding the problem and a representative said: “RTA is studying the possibility of installing a pedestrian crossing at the mentioned location as per RTA standards.”
— The reader is a student based in Dubai.
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