11-year-old asks RTA for pedestrian crossing in Dubai, gets wish granted
To his surprise, Ali said he received a call back from the RTA within 24 hours of sending the email.
An 11-year-old Indian boy in Dubai is happy that his request for a pedestrian crossing in his locality, which is home to three schools, was granted by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
Nehan Naseem Ali, a Grade 6 student at The Indian High School Dubai said his family shifted to the Hussain Nasser Lootah building (now City 4 Residence) in community 214/53 street in Garhoud in 2018.
The place has a couple of residential buildings and there are three schools opposite to Ali's building along the same street. After seeing many children getting difficulties crossing the road daily on their way to school, Ali put in a request to the RTA for a pedestrian crossing in the locality.
"I and many other students of these three schools used to cross the road daily while going to and returning from the school," said Ali.
"There was no pedestrian crossing and we used jaywalk in batches as drivers may stop vehicles for us. I also used to see a few mothers running with their little kindergartners in one hand and with an infant in the other hand." Ali, who was in Grade 4 then, said this made him think about contacting the RTA.
"I sent them a detailed email regarding our concern and requesting for a pedestrian crossing in 2018. I also mentioned the dangers that might happen because of not having a pedestrian crossing," he added.
He first told his parents that he would like to raise his concern with the RTA, for which they agreed. "I have always seen the UAE Rulers encouraging youngsters and their innovative ideas. They have even motivated little children with small gestures like waiving hand or a smile," said Ali.
"So, I wasn't afraid at all to go ahead with my concern. Another thing I noticed is that things are very transparent in the UAE. Any governmental department can be contacted either through a toll-free number or by an email.That's how I decided to raise my concern with the RTA."
Received response in 24 hours
To his surprise, Ali said he received a call back from the RTA within 24 hours of sending the email. "Although I had mentioned in my email that I was a Grade 4 student, my email was never kept aside or trashed," said Ali.
He said officials talked over the phone and suggested that there was another pedestrian crossing which was not very far from them and could be used. "I told them that the pedestrian crossing they were talking about was quite far and it was not possible to walk over just to cross the road at a zebra crossing and return all the way to our schools, especially during summer."
The officials told the boy that they would be looking into his case and see what can be done as there were some restrictions, including how many pedestrian crossings could be permitted in a locality and others. But they didn't close his case.
And a few weeks later, he received a call again from the RTA, saying they were planning to have a road survey taken soon to figure out the possibility of having a pedestrian crossing.
"One fine morning in 2020, when we were ready to go to school, to my surprise, joy and excitement, all I could see was a new pedestrian crossing in our area," said Ali.
"It's really a wish come true for all the residents in this area, especially the schoolgoing children."
He added: "I convey our heartfelt thanks to the RTA for hearing our request and catering to the need."
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