Turning areas marked for parks into parking lots

SHARJAH - Parks or parking lots? The Sharjah Municipality had to make a hard choice - between an urgent urban need and an ecologically correct statement.

By Asma Ali Zain & Afkar Abdullah

Published: Fri 1 Aug 2008, 2:06 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Apr 2015, 1:25 PM

When talks of more green space and environmentally sustainable development are in the air in the booming UAE, it has raised eyebrows by deciding to turn areas previously earmarked for parks into parking lots. However welcome the step may be for vehicle owners who have to move around for hours daily to get parking space in the emirate, it still remains a bane for others who prefer greener surroundings.

The municipality has already undertaken the massive project of building at least 25 five-storey to seven-storey  parking facilities in different parts of the emirate at a cost of Dh125 million.

Residents of Al Qasimiya area, where a similar parking lot is taking shape, say they are disappointed with the decision of the authorities to turn their surrounding into a concrete jungle.

Municipality officials, however, say that alternative locations for the new parks have already been earmarked. However, the exact number of parks being turned into parking lots was not disclosed.

Commenting on the issue, Farida Sultan said: “We were looking forward to the park that was supposed to be built in this area”.

“I understand that there is an urgent need for parking facilities, but our children need space to play as well. They are confined to the limited space within their apartments, but I never allow them out on their own because I am afraid of the roads and vehicles,” she adds.

For Mohammed Ali, the environment is an important aspect of leading a good life. “Greenery is as important as any other issue.

“Currently, I do not see much of it surrounding us in the emirate. Children need parks, adults need open space after spending much of their day at work.

“The authorities should reconsider their decision and pay equal attention to constructing parks as well,” he says passionately.

According to the municipality’s plans, the parking buildings would be constructed in the most congested residential areas and would be finished by the end of next year.

Abdullah Al Shuaikh, a municipality spokesperson, brushing aside the concerns, says that 11 parks will come up in various residential areas in the emirate this year.

“Parks have been converted to parking lots but this is done because the residential areas need more parking lots than parks,” he adds.



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