Outrage at Traffic Jams

Boy do people get steamed up when they drive here!

I notice a big difference between the Netherlands (or Australia) and here in Dubai when it comes to this.  A lot of drivers here seem to have great difficulty coping emotionally with the constraints of big city traffic.

I’m not sure why this is the case… are traffic jams actually new to most of the people driving here? I would have though traffic jams were just as common in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan et al as they are here??

Why do people seem to have such difficulty adjusting to the impact traffic has on their lives?

I often get the impression that people are shocked that traffic jams exist in the first place, and are somehow unable to calculate extra time into their journeys to accommodate them so they are not late.

This article below highlights the frustration levels of local residents of The Greens (which is where we live).

The traffic ALWAYS sucks here.  True.

It needs to be improved. True.

But since it always sucks is it hard to anticipate a delay? Not really, no.

Solution? Leave earlier.

I dunno. Maybe I am being too simplistic.  There must be a logical reason why this causes people so much pain here.

Drivers take the illegal road

Tim Brooks

Last Updated: September 16. 2009 1:37PM UAE / September 16. 2009 9:37AM GMT

The Greens Flyover - Image Source: Paulo Vecina / The National

The Greens Flyover - Image Source: Paulo Vecina / The National

DUBAI // Motorists are taking an illegal shortcut over a flyover that has not yet been opened to avoid ongoing traffic at The Greens.

Drivers, frustrated by heavy congestion at the traffic hot spot, are moving barriers and cones to access a bridge over Sheikh Zayed Road that will link the area to Internet City, Media City and the Marina, residents say.

Sandra Glover, 33, an Australian resident at The Greens who witnessed the reckless driving yesterday morning, said drivers were so angry at the delays to road developments that they were flouting the law and taking great risks.

“I had been queuing for around 20 minutes when I saw that a driver was getting agitated and waving his arms in anger,” she said.

“Then he just pulled his car over to the side of the road, pushed the barrier blocking the entrance to the flyover aside and sped into the distance. He was so angry that I’m not sure he cared whether it was completed or not.”

She added: “Traffic in The Greens has been an issue for over a year, and there have been so many delays that people’s patience is at breaking point. It has caused this reckless and irresponsible behaviour.”

The Roads and Transport Authority and the police were unavailable to comment.

Entering a prohibited road and entering a road dangerously are both violations, punishable with a fine of Dh600 (US$160) and four black points.

Shanwar Shamshudeen, an official with Emaar, the developer responsible for The Greens, said security guards had witnessed the flyover being used and had notified the police.

A large sign was put up yesterday at the entrance to the bridge saying that no unauthorised personnel should proceed beyond that point.

“The flyover has been completed for three weeks but has not been opened due to delays in payment of the construction company,” he said. “The flyover cannot be used until signage is erected and traffic lights on the approach to the bridge have been activated.

“We are aware of the problems our residents face with traffic congestion. Originally the development was built with only a single lane access to Sheikh Zayed Road. We recognised that this was insufficient and have been pressuring the RTA for an additional lane for over a year.”

The flyover, intended to clear congestion by providing direct access to Media City and the Marina, was meant to be completed in March.

Kevin Poyntor, 27, an Irish resident of The Greens, said: “It is not acceptable that this problem still hasn’t been solved when work began in 2006.

“People are late for work and children are late for school because of this. Solving it should have been a priority. While I don’t condone what these drivers are doing, I admit that it must be tempting to use an empty stretch of road rather than be stuck in traffic. People pay a lot of money to live in this area and deserve better infrastructure.”

Last Ramadan the traffic situation became so bad, with drivers facing queues of more than an hour just to exit the area, that The Greens residents’ committee launched an online petition to force Emaar into action.

The residents’ committee has repeatedly demanded that Emaar provide access to Sheikh Zayed Road through the company’s business park, which can be accessed only by using an electronic pass issued to staff. The requests have been denied.

In the past six months the problem has been exacerbated by the sharp rise in residents in the neighbouring Tecom district, which shares the same access roads, and by taxi drivers seeking to avoid Al Barsha Salik gate by taking a detour through the area.

Their anger has been vented through the online petition, which now has 539 signatories, and a noticeboard.

One forum member, Markus Wischy, wrote that plans and a timetable of the road improvements should have been made public and that properties should not have been sold without sufficient roads.

The longtime committee member and campaigner CK Prasad, 55, an Indian resident at the Green, said traffic problems had marred the reputation of the area, forcing prices down and causing many people to leave.

“The traffic issue is significant,” he said. “Many people have left the area due to it and it has had an impact on the reduction of house prices. What is the incentive for people to stay when they can get a flat in another area, without the traffic problems?

“I have lived here for five years and it has still not been resolved. Emaar and the RTA should have worked together on this issue, then perhaps it would have been solved by now.”

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