Abu Dhabi: Vehicle owners continue to complain of a shortage in parking, despite the launch of Mawaqif last year, a management programme that aims to resolve parking issues in the city.
Mawaqif targets the growing demand for parking by applying fees on car parking lots that see a dense volume of traffic. It seems, however, that not everyone agrees that the campaign has helped.
A. A., in the media, said, "The area where I live still has terrible parking. If I return from a day out after 9pm, it takes me 15 to 20 minutes to find a parking spot which can be as far as a seven-minute walk from my home."
Among the reasons why the area she lives in so congested is because of the construction of new buildings where parking spaces aren't available. This is a problem that is echoed by a large number of drivers in Abu Dhabi.
Husnah Khanjif, a 33-year-old mother of two who works in the hotel industry, faces similar problems.
"The area around my home is always overcrowded because of the recent construction of several new housing estates but no construction of new parking lots. This is the problem that needs to be addressed, not paid parking," she said.
Drivers also complained about the lack of signals or indications as to where parking is paid. They criticised the lack of clearly visible labelled signposts or notices, as well as the near-invisible parking meters that are easily — and commonly — overlooked by drivers. "I got fined three different times. Problem was I could never find anything to indicate that parking was paid. The parking meters are always placed in the least visible places," said A.A.
"I once got fined, as well as numerous cars in the same area, for parking in the wrong place. This just proves that there was nothing to specify that parking there was prohibited," said Abdul Rahman Raouf, Minister Counsellor of the Egyptian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Drivers have admitted that this has led them to sometimes remain at home or resort to public transport.
"I once went to Hamdan Street to buy glasses; I drove there twice on two different days only to turn around and go home as there was nowhere to park. The third time I took a taxi," said A. A.
"I was late for an event once for lack of parking spaces and I ended up parking my car 20 minutes away and having to walk, in a full suit, in the heat. It is inconvenient and shouldn't be the case when you own a car," said Raouf. Mawaqif have refused to comment.
— with inputs from Mayar Raouf, Staff Reporter
Are you still struggling to find parking? Is there just not enough spaces? What is the solution? Do you think the parking signs are badly placed?