Mawaqif officials launch a new parking meter at the Tourist Club area in Abu Dhabi. Around 70,000 paid parking spaces are expected to come up by the end of June. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: By the end of June, more than 70,000 paid parking spaces will have been completed across Abu Dhabi city, a senior official said on Sunday.

"But our real goals are not reduced to just providing parking spaces to ease congestion, we rather aim at discouraging the culture of reliance on cars to do daily routine, which include early morning trips to the gym," Ahmad Al Hammadi, head of the projects and maintenance section, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, said.

Al Hammadi said many people are in the habit of driving distressingly short distances, even to the gym to exercise, in spacious cars that are generally much larger than the trip requires.

"We at Mawaqif aim to help motorists calculate the gains and losses of gratuitous car use," Al Hammadi said.

He made the remarks as he launched the paid parking scheme in the densely populated Tourist Club area on Sunday. The pay-to-park system will be extended to sector ‘E16' covering 6,700 parking spaces in the area starting from March 29.

The new area is located between Zayed the Second Street from the north, Al Falah Street from the south, Tenth Street from the east and Al Salam Street from the west. This brings the total parking spaces up to more than 67,000, including premium and standard surface spaces, and multi-storey buildings.

Al Hammadi added that the scheme, in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Municipality and Abu Dhabi Police, is also meant to address other problems, including illegally overcrowded and partitioned accommodation in areas like Al Khalidiya and the Tourist Club.

Security requirements

"Parking spaces are designed to meet health, safety and security requirements and the need for parking is based on the number of legal residents and businesses," Ahmad Al Marzouqi, a senior project engineer at the department, said.

Responding to complaints from the public that parking spaces available are far fewer than required, prompting the need to provide spaces in adjoining less crowded areas,

Al Marzouqi said the department responded positively to these demands, allowing permit holders to park either in theirs or neighbouring areas. "This is applicable to E7 and E8 sectors as well as E9-1 and E9-2, to mention a few."

Parking management services will apply in these areas from 8am to 10pm, Saturday to Thursday. The charges will be Dh3 per hour for premium parking (curbstones painted in turquoise and white) with a maximum permitted duration of 4 hours, and Dh2 per hour or Dh15 per day for standard parking (curbstones painted in turquoise and black). Parking is free on official holidays, however, cars parked illegally will be fined at any point in time.

Maximum two permits

Mawaqif customer service centres will issue parking permits to residents in the newly-assigned areas, allowing them to park in standard parking spaces near their residence. This permit is available to owners or tenants and first-of-kin residing with them. A maximum of two permits is allowed per household and each permit is vehicle-specific and valid for specific sector(s) indicated on the permit.

For a parking permit, residents must submit copies of their passport with valid residency visa; leasing contract or residency ownership proof, last water and electricity bill, tenancy contracts, proof of vehicle ownership and relationship of the vehicle owner, if different from the tenancy contract. Annual fees for the resident permits are Dh800 for the first vehicle and Dh1,200 for the second vehicle.