‘Paid system can clean up parking mess’

ABU DHABI — The parking mess on many streets in the capital can be solved, partially or otherwise, with the introduction of a paid parking system, a top official of the Ministry of Interior has said.

By Hakam Kherallah

Published: Sat 25 Jun 2005, 10:56 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:09 PM

The proposed system, which is already in place in other emirates, can replace the current ‘reservation’ system adopted by the civic body, which has widely been viewed as one of the factors that aggravated parking problems in Abu Dhabi.

“Street parking lots can be converted into paid parking facilities, especially in congested areas and near government buildings heavily frequented on weekdays,” said Colonel Ghaith Al Zaabi, Director of Traffic and Licensing Department of Abu Dhabi Police.

There are more than 500,000 vehicles registered in Abu Dhabi, in addition to vehicles that come from other emirates.

He said that the paid parking system could be operated during peak hours. However, since many buildings in the capital are used for commercial as well as residential purposes, tenants in these buildings can make free use of the parking facilities during specific hours, so as to avoid being unfairly affected by the implementation of the proposal, said the traffic police chief.

He said the economic and demographic growth witnessed in Abu Dhabi and other emirates had been phenomenal, necessitating new ways to deal with emerging realities, including problems related to parking facilities.

Col Zaabi said that it was unfair that some companies reserve parking lots for some of their employees under the ‘reservation’ system, and keep the parking facility with no utilisation at night time, during weekends and on holidays, depriving others from using it. “This has caused a lot of inconvenience to tenants living in buildings that are both commercial and residential,” he stressed. “That system should be replaced,” he said, affirmatively.

He said motorists were contributing to the problem by failing to use paid parking facilities already existing in some areas, like Hamdan Street. He said there are two parking facilities, one accommodating 500 cars and another for 300 cars near the securities market area, “but motorists tend to park any where to be as close as to the place they want to go to”.

He said traffic police had increased their patrols and fined a large number of erring motorists, knowing that these motorists could use parking facilities that are so close to the buildings they want to go to.

He underlined that the decision by Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that came into effect on April 1, 2005 to raise some traffic fines to Dh500, was a necessary step to end a number of serious traffic rule violations like parking in lots designated for physically challenged motorists and parking cars in front of hydrants.

Decision No. (28) of 2005 modified some articles in the ministerial decision No (130) of 1997. He said raising the value of the fines under Article 97 regarding vehicles stopped or parked near hydrants or parked in spaces designated for the disabled was necessary and suitable.

Col Zaabi took his proposal, to introduce a paid parking system in Abu Dhabi, on air when he announced it on Emarat Television, the terrestrial channel of Abu Dhabi Television. The message he wanted to deliver emerged loud and clear as one of the methods to confront parking problems in the capital.

“We are addressing the public through the media and in various languages, and we are all serious about finding solutions to this problem,” said the official.

He said the traffic department was implementing its programmes as part of a five-year strategic security plan endorsed by Interior Ministry.

Col Zaabi said authorities were also conducting studies on the setting up of a public transport establishment in Abu Dhabi, which will be another means to reducing traffic problems in the city.

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