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Where do we park our cars in Sharjah?

Where do we park our cars in Sharjah?

Sandy areas converted into paid parking lots are more expensive than public parking.

By Afkar Abdullah/principal Correspondent

Published: Mon 22 Jun 2015, 1:16 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:17 PM

Sharjah — Residents of Sharjah are in a dilemma: Should they go for public parking, or pay over Dh300 per month for parking on private lots? 

Most of the sandy areas in the emirate have been fenced and converted as private paid parking zones, which are more expensive than municipality parking rates.

Residents complain in one voice: “Be it public parking or private parking, we have to pay a huge amount as we are experiencing a severe shortage of parking space.”

However, a top official from the Sharjah Municipality attributed the parking woes to the rapid rise in number of residents due to a real estate boom, adding people shift to Sharjah, as it ensures a family environment. 

Residents say the private parking area charges Dh5 per hour; they also offer monthly charges, which ranges from Dh300 to 500.

Some building owners recently increased annual parking fees from Dh2,500 to Dh3,500.

The private parking fees are not unified and the owners increase the fees when they find that there is a severe shortage of parking spaces in the area.

All residents can’t afford to pay the parking fees, so they have to park their cars in far off areas and walk to reach their homes.

Those who subscribe to the Sharjah Municipality’s paid parking said sometimes even they find it difficult to get a vacant parking lot.

The problem is more serious inside the city, where residential complexes and businesses co-exist, further straining the inadequate parking facilities.

Kamal Al Tayeb, a resident of Abu Shaghara, said that the 55 paid parking zones, which were initiated to help motorists during the rush hour, are always full, highlighting the seriousness of the problem.

Suresh Goshi, another resident of Sharjah, said that residents living in old buildings without parking lots used to park their vehicles on plots of land near their apartment. Now all of them have been blocked or converted to private paid parking.

The parking problem is severe in areas like Abu Shaghara, Al Qasimiya, Al Butian, Al Mussala, Rolla and Al Ghuwair area. Some of the new residential buildings that are coming up in different parts of the emirate have their own multi-storey parking lots, but a vast majority of existing buildings have no space of their own for parking.

“The municipality regulations that govern the construction of buildings do not specify the number of parking spaces each building should have according to its size, type, and usage,” Goshi added.

Abdull Munem, Al Balooshi of Al Qasimiya area, said that 10 years ago separate plots of land were made available for every building for parking.

He added: “With the construction activity picking up, most of these open spaces have been taken over, and residents are suffering. Now I’m forced to use private paid zones, and walk long distance to reach my apartment behind the Amiri court.”

Sheela Patel, a resident, said no area is left for residents who look for free parking in Sharjah city. “It’s better to move further down to remote areas and drive long distances to our work places in Dubai or Sharjah to save on parking charges, rent hikes, utility bills and expensive commodities. Every time something new comes up to swallow our saving; in fact there are no more savings. Things add up and salaries remain the same. I don’t know how people with low incomes can manage to survive here.”

Sharafaldeen, who lives in Al Nasseriya, said: “I am an annual subscriber of municipality paid parking. But no use. When I return home I have to drive around almost two hours to find space.”

The municipality official said that Sharjah is considered a residential haven for its family-friendly environment that is complemented with public parks and entertainment facilities designed especially for families, with relatively quieter surroundings.

The municipality launched its multi-storey parking in various residential areas, but handed the project to public works.

The opening of these multi-storey parking is expected to contribute in minimising the shortage of parking spaces.

Public works officials revealed that they were considering projects that would help ease the parking facility problem and will solve the issue soon.— afkarali@khaleejtimes.com

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