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The capital of the UAE is known for many things. Home to the country's president, it also has its very own leaning tower called Capital Gate and a seven-star hotel frequented by the political and entertainment elite from the world over. Its burgeoning economy means rapid development, and an even more rapid influx of tourists and residents eager to make the Middle Eastern experience their own. And that, more often than not, means traffic and parking miseries for Abu Dhabi's residents.
The capital's parking woes have been an ongoing problem for the past few years. Residents have been known to drive around their apartment blocks for up to an hour to find parking space, which is sometimes a kilometer or more away. Parking on pavements, sandy lots and double parking are what most people resort to when they return home after a long day's work. Contrary to popular belief, the problem is not only limited to Abu Dhabi island. It has permeated its suburbs as well, more notably Mussafah. Parking problems in Sectors 9-12 have been further compounded by ongoing construction works in the area.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Fortunately, yes. There is the Department of Transport's (DoT) Mawaqif paid parking system being implemented in several parts of the city to manage the parking spaces.
DoT also initially unveiled the Park and Ride initiative within the city a few years ago. Just this year, the initiative was launched in the outskirts. Residents living in the mainland can park their cars at a secure location at Zayed Sports City, collect free-of-charge tickets from the ticket counter, and hop on the shuttle bus to the island. The bus stops at multiple strategic locations in the city falling within the route. The buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi and leave every 15 minutes during peak hours. The government is urging everyone to avail of the service to free up hundreds of parking spaces in the city, ease traffic congestion, save time and reduce pollution.
The city's public buses also have a wide and ever expanding network, making them a significant contributor in easing traffic and parking problems.
• The Mawaqif paid parking program manages the capital's parking spaces/areas
• 'Park and Ride' and improved bus services help reduce traffic, parking woes
• City's new buildings now equipped with basement, multi-storey parking areas
Source: Bushra Hameduddin, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer