Dubai: Residents of Jumeirah Lakes Towers have revived their demand for a pedestrian crossing on First Al Khail street, behind the sprawling development, after a Filipina woman was run over by a speeding car last week.
The tragic death of the 30-year-old mother of two has brought to fore the biggest worry of the residents and office-goers, who are forced to jaywalk on First Al Khail street due to the absence of any pedestrian crossing or footbridge.
Gulf News, earlier this year, drew attention to the impending disaster waiting to strike anytime and strike it did.
The accident happened on Thursday, December 11, at 6:15 when Arien Paez was going back from work.
Vamik Ansari, who crossed the road seconds before the accident happened, was obviously traumatised.
“I just can’t get over it. I keep thinking that I was a few seconds late it could be me. Just I reached the other side of the road I heard a loud noise, it happened just behind me. When I turned around I saw the woman tossed away some 30 metres from where she was hit and her belongings were scattered around. She died on the spot,” said Ansari, an IT technician working at Al Mazaya towers.
Before the tragedy struck, Mike Al Samman, has been campaigning to bring the issue to light since last year, along with other members of the community.
“My biggest worry since I came here was that somebody will lose their life crossing the road. We can’t stop people from crossing the road as they don’t have any other option. That is why I tried to bring this to the attention of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) as well as DMCC, the developer of JLT. I repeatedly wrote to both the entities without any outcome,” said Al Samman, Director of Public Relations, GCC Services, which is located in Al Mazaya Business Towers on the eastern side of JLT.
Out of around 4,000 people who work in the three towers, almost 70 per cent use metro, which means they have no option but to walk to the metro station.
“We have around 4,000 people working in the three business towers and almost 70 per cent of the people use metro for their daily commute. Since, there are no pedestrian crossings for up to two kilometres on either side of the road, most people risk their lives and jaywalk to reach the metro station. We were always worried of the danger involved but now everybody is scared,” said Saji Varghese, Director of Quality at GCC services.
Anshul Agarwal, Corporate Affairs Manager at Blue Lines Shipping, where Arien worked for the last one year was visibly dumbstruck.
“I don’t know what to say. Like all people who worked or lived in this area we had kind of a premonition of an accident waiting to happen and it is unfortunate that one of our own employees lost her life. She was the only breadwinner for her family, a mother of two children, one of whom was ill and she was working hard to provide for the child’s treatment,” said Agarwal.
The First Al Khail road was recently expanded and turned into a freeway with two flyovers behind JLT, however, no provisions have been provided for pedestrian crossings.
A DMCC spokesperson, in a statement to Gulf News, said: “This is a tragic accident and our condolences are with the family and friends of the victim. We are working with the RTA to make this road safe for pedestrians.” RTA did not comment till press time.