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Dubai has so many cars, but what about parking spaces?

angel@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 5, 2018 | Last updated on May 5, 2018 at 02.24 pm
Dubai has so many cars, but what about parking spaces?

(KT file)

The number of parking spaces comes to just 10% of the number of cars.

Aside from crawling traffic during peak hours, another major concern for motorists in Dubai is parking.

According to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai's vehicle density is one of the highest in the world, even exceeding some of the biggest mega-cities.

To put it into perspective, the average car ownership in Dubai is one for every two residents or 540 vehicles per 1,000 people whilst cities like New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong respectively has 305, 213, 101 and 63 vehicles per 1,000 residents.

Back in 2006, the number of vehicles in Dubai was around 740,000, but this has doubled to 1.4 million at the end of 2014. The RTA said that at an average annual increase of 8.2 per cent, the number of cars in Dubai could reach more than 2 million by 2020.

Compounding the vehicle density in Dubai, the RTA noted that around 450,000 vehicles enter the city daily from other emirates.

Despite the high volume of vehicles, the RTA told Khaleej Times that there are only 166,000 parking spaces across the city.

"Lately, the parking department has introduced three codes, I, J, K in Jumeirah Lake Towers. In addition, Parking department also introduced the eco-friendly car parking in the mid of 2017, and the department is always seeking more options to cover the future demand needs," the RTA said.

"There are future plans to expand parking spaces across the city based on the communities' demands," the RTA added.

The authority added that after "the successful implementation of smart parking project in some of the strategic areas in Dubai, the RTA is studying new initiatives with recent technologies that will enhance the smart parking and its will be announced at later stages".

To offset the lack of parking spaces, private parking lots are also operated across Dubai. The fees vary from area to area with busy areas in Bur Dubai and Deira charging from Dh10 to as much as Dh20 per hour, depending on the demand. Operators are free to decide on the fees based on a set of regulations, according to the RTA.

International experts, meanwhile, suggest the creation of more bike lanes and walking paths as alternative forms of going around city centres. This move will address congestion as well as parking problems.

At the recent Mena Transport Congress and Exhibition organised by the RTA, Brent Toderian, founder of Toderain Urban Works in Vancouver, Canada, said that in most successful cities in the world, the idea that you need cars to be happy has been proven fundamentally false.

He explained that with Dubai's population growth, the challenge is to provide mobility to the people with less requirement for space, including parking, and the solution is not to build more roads for cars.

He said: "Following the fundamental law of congestion, the more lanes you build, the more people drive." This means more people will be encouraged to buy cars and consequently more parking space is required.

But even if just 10 per cent of the population walk or cycle, there will be huge transformation in the mobility of the city. The infrastructure we need for cars will be less and the cost is cheaper than building roads or creating parking spaces, he noted.

Urban planners, meanwhile, are calling on property developers to start thinking ahead and adopt smart solutions for parking. They said that the future of parking requirement is expected to be significantly influenced by the arrival of autonomous vehicles (AV) and eventual growth of hybrid and electric vehicles.

At a previous interview with Khaleej Times, Andrew Rippon, senior consultant of NXN (formerly NeXgen), said: "Several cities around the world are already beginning to trial self-parking vehicles, including AV parking lots and robotic parking valets. Dubai is still in the early stage but a few things have started. We have a long way to go in terms of smart parking and we need to start placing the building blocks for the creation of smart parking system."

angel@khaleejtimes.com

Free Parking

To keep up with the requirements and needs of growing users provision and regulation in parking fare areas, the Roads and Transports Authority (RTA) has developed a plan to regulate the parking of vehicles in Dubai, by focusing on increased parking rotation, and contributing towards the provision of free services for citizens and residents to use.

> Paid parking permit for citizens/locals (L)
This service/permit allows paid parking usage in controlled areas for citizens/locals only. The card is issued free of charge.

> Permit for paid villa parking (V)
This service/permit allows one parking space for villa visitors. For citizens/locals only (service charge is Dh170).

> Residential area parking permit (R)
These permits are granted to the area's residents (both citizens/locals and residents) for free overnight parking. The initiative aims to allocate parking spaces to the area's residents only (currently the service is only available in Mankhool).

> Disabled parking permit (Elderly)
This service/permit allows citizens/locals who are above 60 years of age to apply (for free) for public parking (non-handicapped) usage.

> Chronic diseases permit
The permit allows (for free) the use of allocated hospital parking spaces. It is granted for those aged above 60 years by a medical committee.

> Disabled parking permit (Permanent)
This permit allows (for free) the use of allocated disabled parking spaces to people with permanent disabilities and limited movement capabilities.

> Permits for the disabled rehabilitation centre vehicles
Granted (for free) to disabled rehabilitation centre vehicles.

> Disabled tourists and visitors permits
This permit allows (for free) the temporary use of allocated disabled parking spaces to tourists and visitors in the UAE with disabilities and limited movement capabilities.

> Disabled parking permit (Temporary)
This permit allows (for free) the use of allocated disabled parking spaces to people with permanent disabilities and limited movement capabilities.

Source: RTA

How to pay for parking

> Coins
Insert the coins of the right value for the time frame desired (one dirham, and 50 fils coins are accepted) into the machines deployed around parking lots, then place the ticket, received, on the dashboard.

> Nol Cards
If you are a Nol card holder, you can use it to pay for parking in the specified machines deployed all over the parking lots, for the time you wish to stay, the machine will deduct the parking fees off your card balance, then place the ticket, received, on the dashboard.

> SMS
You can pay for car parking usage in Dubai using the bilingual (mParking) service. Send a SMS in a certain format, then receive a confirmation SMS confirming the payment process, while parking charge gets deducted off your phone balance, another SMS will be sent to your phone 10 minutes before the end of your parking time.

> Prepaid cards
The RTA issues parking prepaid cards that enable users to pay with, instead of coins. Insert the card in the paying machines that will deduct the parking fees off your balance against time you stay.

> RTA Dubai App
This interactive mobile-based application is your guide to Dubai. The app includes a list of services designed to support drivers and passengers by specifying points of interest including service centres, Metro and bus stations; taxi booking services and parking.

> Smart Parking
Make your parking experience as smooth as possible. Users can find accessible parking-related services and information - tariff, parking payment methods and unoccupied parking spaces, automatic zone code identification, and more.

Angel Tesorero





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