Driving into a chaos

International City, Dubai, is a residential community built to provide low-cost housing to thousands who couldn’t afford homes elsewhere in the emirate.



By Shafaat Ahmed

Published: Sat 28 Aug 2010, 12:01 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:14 AM

Away from traffic and congestion, it was supposed to be a dream community for the middle class segment of the society, but instead it has become a nightmare for the community’s beleaguered motorists.

With over 30,000 residential units — more under construction — housing around 60,000 people, the community has in place almost all the things essential except one — an interchange that connects it with the highways around it.

Not that it has any dearth of highways. International City is surrounded by the Emirates Road on the one side and the Hatta Road on the other, but getting there is the real issue.

There are three entries/exits supporting the community from three different locations but the relatively convenient and the most used is the one on Hatta Road near theDragon Mart.

Being the most used entryway it is perennially clogged, taking at times over half an hour to cross the500-metre stretch from the entrance to the next round-about and understandably the residents are not much impressed.

Academician Mohammed Khalifa lives in the China Cluster of the community, which is just behind the Dragon Mart and close to the main entrance, but that doesn’t help his cause.

“When I moved to this place I chose this flat because being close to the entrance I thought I could enter and exit quickly,” said Khalifa, adding that far from being a convenience the proximity to the entrance has created big problems for him.

He said that “the biggest problem is the entry in the evening, when the entire community returns from work. The Dragon Mart entrance being the only proper one, even people living in the France Cluster — the farthest one — choose to enter from here. For me, a two-minute drive from the entrance to my home takes more than half an hour.” Adding to the woes of the residents is the traffic headed for Dragon Mart and the EPPCO petrol pump all of which converge on the main round-about immediately after the entrance.

“Traffic exiting from the Emirates Road on to the Hatta Road and the traffic entering the International City generally merge on the same track, because there is no other way. This causes a lot of chaos. Adding to these are the vehicles coming out of the petrol pump and those going to the Dragon Mart. They all converge on the round-about rendering it completely blocked,” said Anwar Ahmed, explaining the generally chaotic scene in the area.

He opined that a slightly better planning on the part of the authorities could easily improve the situation.

Professional lensman Rohit Gujral was also of the similar opinion. “All this chaos could be easily avoided with a little discretion from the authorities. The best solution is an interchange directly connecting International City with both the Hatta Road and the Emirates Road. This could also separate the ways leading to the Dragon Mart, International City and the EPPCO petrol pump locatedat its head.”

But Lenny Liu, a Chinese resident, who runs a boutique in the Dragon Mart and lives in the China Cluster, said there is more to the problem than what meets the eye.

Liu feels the real problem is overpopulation. “The community was built for around 60,000 people, but currently supports more than double. Thousands of bachelors live here cramped in small flats. Since there is no proper transport facility from the area, most people do drive. There are hundreds of truck drivers who live and park their vehicles here and this adds to the problem.”

She added that though heavy vehicles are prohibited from entering the community, dozens of them could be found parked around the place.

However, it is not just the entry that is flawed; even exiting the community is not a cakewalk. Residents exiting on the Hatta Road and heading to Dubai will have to drive nearly three kilometres to the next round-about and take a U-turn.

Residents feel even those opting for other exits have to go through a vast maze of roads before they actually reach the alternatives — the Emirates Road or the Academic City Road. And a doze of Panadol is must before one actually lays hands on the wheel.

shafaat@khaleejtimes.com


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