A motorist takes parking ticket from Mawaqif machine at a parking area on Muroor street in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: GN Archives

Abu Dhabi: The number of parking spaces available to Abu Dhabi residents will increase significantly as the Department of Transport implements a number of plans to meet the growing demand, officials said on Tuesday.

While a two-month campaign has sought to remind residents about Mawaqif’s various services and methods of payment, the authority has initiated steps to free up space around fire hydrants. Mawaqif is hoping to convert nearly 70 per cent of fire hydrant platforms into parking spaces.

“In coordination with the Civil Defence, we have already added 500 usable spaces, and another 200 more will be available to the public after the transformation process is completed,” said Mohammad Nasser Al Otaiba, General Manager of Mawaqif at the Department of Transport.

“In addition a temporary multi-storey car park which can accommodate up to 300 vehicles is scheduled to open by the end of June in sector E11,” Al Otaiba added.

Mawaqif engineers have revealed that fire hydrants have to be one metre or further away from parking space kerbs for the spaces to be eligible for becoming paid parking spaces.

The temporary parking facilities employ modern technologies that allow the structure to be taken down and assembled elsewhere in areas facing a shortage of parking spaces.

The Department of Transport had earlier announced that a permanent underground 3-storey car park was being constructed in Sector 11 East between Al Falah Street and Baniyas Street near the Ministry of Finance, Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council and the Department of Economic Development (DED). This is the first project among several of its kind.

“After the permanent car park is completed, we will reassess the area to determine whether the temporary car park in that area is necessary and based on our findings; we will either take down the temporary structure and move it elsewhere or keep it where it is so it can fulfil parking needs,” said Ahmad Al Hammadi, head of the projects and maintenance section, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport.

Motorcycles will also be assigned designated parking spaces located away from vehicle parking lots. This plan is currently being developed as part of the 2013-2016 scheme, officials said.

“Our ultimate target is to reduce fines. Therefore, within our campaign, we will highlight all the information which drivers need to know in order to stay clear of violations,” Al Otaiba said, adding that such information includes the different types of parking bays and the amounts to pay in each, prohibited areas, timings and payment methods.