Businesses Hit Hard by Closure of Salaam Street in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI - The temporary closure of Salaam Street has sent businesses in Tourist Club area reeling, with customers, even regular ones, keeping away as the apprach to these places has been made difficult.

By Anwar Ahmad

Published: Mon 18 Jan 2010, 12:36 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:30 PM

But, with business going down 30-40 per cent, shopowners have come up with an ingenious solution — they have prepared their own route maps directed towards their business establishments, in order to help customers reach them using roads that see less traffic.

The shopkeepers here have registered up to 50 per cent decline in their businesses even as constant traffic snarls make residents’ lives difficult. These days, it takes about one-and-a-half hour to cover the nearly two-kilometre distance during the peak morning and evening hours from Elektra to Tourist Club area or from Passport Road to Abu Dhabi Mall situated in the Tourist Club area.

The effect on businesses has been so bad that some shopkeepers have laid off up to 30 to 40 per cent of their staff. This, when the locality has numerous cafes, clubs, restaurants, recreational centres, spas, beauty parlours, etc, all of whom are counting down for the Salaam Street to reopen.

Some shopkeepers in the area on the road leading to Zayed Port registered a business slump of 30-50 per cent, while some lost up to 60 per cent of their customers.

Shopping malls, hypermarkets which are located in that area also have witnessed decline in the business up to 40 per cent, as visiting the area means losing more than two hours in traffic.

The Abu Dhabi Municipality regularly take measures and opens by-lanes and new diversions to maintain smooth traffic flow in the area.

In an official statement, the Abu Dhabi Municipality announced on Tuesday, “From January 14, the flow of traffic in both directions on the intersection of Street No (2) Old Mazda with Mina Road will be pushed to the left a few meters towards the Mina Road. This will be in place for two months.”

The move is meant to give way to the construction of Al Salam tunnel wall as well as to transfer service lines and public utilities in the area, the statement said. Paul Hallac, marketing manager at Green Bird, a fashion Shop, said, “Closure of the street, when recession is on just added fuel to the fire and resulted in the collapse of our business.

But, we have optimistically come up with alternative ways to bring in customers and chalked out a route map so that they can reach our shop easily using the least congested areas during off-peak hours. We email it to our regular customers. Roughly, we lost up to 40-50 per cent business.”

Waleed Ramsy, a pharmacist at New Al Hanan Pharmacy in the Tourist Club area said:

“We have lost around 40 per cent of our business since the closure of Salam Street. The traffic from 8am to 10am, 1pm to 2pm and in the evening from 7pm to 9pm is the worst. Why would anybody spend hours to come here?”

Waheed Abdussalam, manager at the Cauldron Cafe, said, “Restaurants and cafes on Defence Road, Muroor Road and other places are minting money as the crowd shifted to these locations. People can reach there in five to 10 minutes, so why should they spend hours in traffic.”

Yosry, manager at Flafil Al Baik restaurant and cafeteria, said, “I laid off two of our staff due to less customers as a result of the traffic problems since the construction started in the area. We lost up to 60 per cent business.”

Abdul Nasir, salesperson at Liv’in Home and Hotel Furniture, said, “Now, our customers have moved to the other side of the city. From morning till evening we sit here but only a few people turn up. Now, the situation is very tough.

“But soon we hope things will pick up after the opening of the streets and bridges.”

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