By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Dubai will have more than 100 pedestrian bridges within the next two years, Gulf News has learnt.
The move comes as part of Dubai Pedestrian Safety and Mobility Action Plan launched by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) at the end of 2008. The plan involves infrastructure and policy improvements to create a safe walking culture.
The three-year-goal of the plan is to reduce pedestrian accidents by 30 per cent and achieve an increase of 20 per cent in pedestrian traffic by 2012.
“We are well on track as we will have around 100 pedestrian bridges in addition to tens of dozens of normal crossings by 2012 compared to 16 pedestrian bridges in 2007,” a senior RTA official told Gulf News.
He added that the RTA built eight pedestrian bridges in 2008, bringing the total number to 22. The number of pedestrian bridges increased to 40 by the end of 2009, including the bridges linked to the Dubai Metro stations.
The official said that construction on at least 16 pedestrian bridges is on the cards. There are slight changes in the specifications and the completion time has been extended. The more than 100 pedestrian bridges by 2012 will include 47 metro station bridges when all the Metro stations on the Red and the Green Line open by the end of 2011.
Most of the new bridges will be air-conditioned and have escalators and elevators. Existing crossings will be replaced with new ones in phases.
“Our long-term vision is to have ‘zero fatalities’ with regard to pedestrian fatalities from the road network,” the official added.
According to RTA statistics, 69 pedestrians were killed on Dubai Roads in 2001. There were 145 deaths in 2007, which accounted for 44 per cent of the total road fatalities.
Pedestrian fatalities dropped 27 per cent to 106 in 2008 and fell to 70 in 2009, thanks to new pedestrian bridges and zebra crossings equipped with signals.
“Reduced pedestrian fatalities is a big achievement and we are well on target to make Dubai pedestrian-friendly city,” said the official.
Pedestrians have been warned that crossing the road in undesignated areas, especially on a road that has a speed limit above 80 km per hour, carries a fine of Dh200.
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA said: “The excellent cooperation and coordination between the RTA and the Ministry of Interior, Dubai Police General HQ and driving institutes has resulted in a drop in traffic accidents fatality rate in Dubai from 21 cases per 100,000 of population in 2005 to about 12.7 cases per 100,000 cases of population in 2009.”