Parking woes hit Sharjah residents

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Parking woes hit Sharjah residents

Parking woes continue to haunt residents and expatriates in the emirate due to the scarcity of free parking — prompting some families to stay at home rather than pay to park their cars.

By Lily B. Libo-on

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Published: Wed 21 Aug 2013, 12:45 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:43 PM

With just few “kacha” (temporary) areas mostly left for free parking, residents are facing the problem of moving their cars in the morning to go to office with often hundreds of cars crammed into the small kacha areas.

The tight parking spaces mean some cars get damaged by others, whose drivers due to lack of space, sometimes, sideswipe their cars and drive away.

The hunt for a car park also render people late for appointments or meetings, as sometimes they have to spend more than an hour waiting for someone to vacate a space. In many residential areas such as in the parking near the Immigration department and the Al Mahatta Museum, only a small strip on the right side of the museum is left for free parking, with the rest being paid parking at Dh2 an hour.

The Sharjah Municipality has offered an annual parking sticker — for Dh1,300 — for a car to be parked in two areas at the owner’s choice. But most motorists are saying they want the government to charge Dh700 like in Abu Dhabi for one parking area.

Rao Naido, an Indian expatriate staying in Rolla, Sharjah for the past eight years, has been in this situation for the past three years. “Eight years back, it was free parking almost everywhere but now, almost all except the “kacha” areas, which can only accommodate between 300 and 500 vehicles in various areas, are free. It is also dangerous as other car owners just bump into your car while maneuvering to get in or out in such a crammed area,” he said.

He said it takes him an hour or so waiting to get a parking space, especially when his wife goes out to buy groceries. “I have to stay back in the car, put on the hazard lights, and wait until I can get a space when someone moves out. Most of the time, I don’t get one. Coming from the office at 6pm, I have to rush to a “kacha” area, which is far from my residence, to vie for a space. The situation is so depressing. It requires so much patience.”

Sameer Hamza, an Indian who has been living in Al Qasimiya, Sharjah for four years, says that he always rushes from work at 6pm to the “kacha” area near the Mega Mart to be able to park his car. “Once I park in the “kacha” area, I don’t want to move my car anymore because if I go out with my family to the Corniche to watch the lagoon as we used to do, I cannot find a space by the time I get back. By 11pm or midnight, there is no more parking space in the “kacha” area, which accommodates about 500 cars in an overcrowded place.”

He said he has no option but to go to a paid parking area. “If I park my car in a paid parking regularly, I need between Dh100 and Dh150 a month. This is not possible for me,” he said.

Mohammed Ahmed, a Pakistani who has been living near Al Mahatta Museum for years, said there was just a small strip of free parking in this area. Before, spaces there were free, but for the past year all has been made paid parking. “From my work, I always go back home to be able to get a parking space at a “kacha” area near Al Madina and Al Hilal Bank. After 8pm, I cannot get a parking space anymore. I will wait until 10pm, to get free parking, but many like me are eying the area to get free parking. Parking is free until 8am. Hence, I pay for an hour, from 8am to 9am at Dh2 an hour, then I drive my car to work.”

Families going to Al Majaz Waterfront say they are paying Dh5 in green parking inside, seven days a week. Outside parking, which is always full, is Dh2 an hour. But, very few get a parking space. Many of the families say the parking problem is forcing them to stay away from a night out in the parks and other entertainment areas to avoid any inconvenience of not finding a parking space after they return home.

Filipino Nando Reyes says they can heave a sign of relief on Friday, when the parking areas are free. But, he said, many prefer Dubai because the parking is free for two days, Friday and Saturday.

Reports of some enterprising individuals leasing empty areas are aplenty. These leased areas are managed by several Asians who allegedly collect Dh200 a month parking fee from residents of the area in order to let them park. But, it is not known whether they register it with the government or if this ongoing business is in the knowledge of the

More spaces to be added: Municipality

Afkar Abdullah

A senior official at Sharjah Municipality has attributed the lack of parking areas in Sharjah to the increasing popularity of the emirate, which attracts more and more families due to its secure environment.

However, the municipality is considering the issue and is working on alleviating the problem, by introducing more multi-storey car parking facilities as well as open car parking areas in places where the number of people residing exceeds the assigned parking areas for their cars.

The municipality has completed the construction of more than 10 multi-storey parking lots in various parts of the city and is also making use of open areas to be used for parking vehicles.

He added that the move has come to meet the current increasing demand from residents and to cope with the rapid constructional development in the emirate.

The municipality said the project will be executed in areas where a lot of traffic congestion is witnessed, where many motorists resort to parking their vehicles on the roads.

He said a team of inspectors and other municipal personnel are contributing effectively to reducing the traffic congestion in the crowded areas, adding that they have towed away many cars parked in public places for long periods and have also fined the owners.

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