By Farhana Chowdhury www.khaleejtimes.com
DUBAI — The Traffic and Roads Agency, a sector of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), revealed plans to place more pedestrian crossings along roads across the city to curb jaywalking and make Dubai pedestrian-friendly.
Over the next five years, RTA plans to construct about 24 new pedestrian bridges, 121 zebra crossings, 36 raised crossings, 86 pelican/puffin crossings and improve about 74 existing signal junctions and roundabouts.
The plan came into action after noticing an increase in the number of ‘jaywalkers’, people who cross roads at unmarked places, that poses high risks of accidents.
“RTA recently completed a study related to pedestrian safety through a project called, ‘T127-Pedestrian Safety and Mobility Action Plan for Dubai’ by a US-based consultancy. As per the study, there is a plan to construct several pedestrian crossings on Dubai roads through RTA’s five-year plan,” said Maitha bin Adai, CEO, Traffic and Roads Agency.
Civilian officers have been spotted around areas, notably Bur Dubai and Al Qouz, who have been issuing fines to those who failed to cross at the marked crossings. Dubai Police charges Dh200 as fine for jaywalking. “When you walk for a long time in this heat, it feels hard to walk more to get to a junction or zebra crossing to go across the road,” said Marie-Ann P, a Filipina who resides in Al Qouz.
“There are so many places where the public bus stops in the middle of a long road and there is no crossing in sight. When you get off the bus and your destination is straight across the road, it is easier to cross from where you are dropped, especially when you see that the zebra crossing is very far. Most of us are careful, we see that there is a wide distance between us and the cars and then we cross, but I have seen labourers crossing dangerously.”
In response to complaints, Maitha told Khaleej Times that they have drawn up a schedule to deal with crossing problems in the area.
“We have already constructed several pedestrian crossings on 318th Road (in Al Qouz) through the Parallel Road project.
We will construct pedestrian crossings on suggested 319th Road as per RTA’s schedule and importance,” said Maitha.
24 Pedestrian bridges
121 Zebra crossings
36 Raised crossings: Crossings like a wide speed bump, raised on the road with slight slants at the front and back, that force drivers to reduce their speed and allow pedestrians to cross.
86 Pelican/Puffin Crossings: Pelican crossings have poles set on each side of the road that displays the shape of a standing person lit in red that tell pedestrians to wait, and a green-lit one that signals and flashes to tell pedestrians to cross the road quickly.
These are controlled by pressing a button on a box set on the pole. A Puffin crossing is an upgraded version of the Pelican crossing, placed diagonally on each side of the road for pedestrians to monitor passing traffic while waiting for the signal to cross. It also includes sensors that detect the presence of pedestrians as they cross the road so that traffic signal for vehicles remains red until the crossing is clear of pedestrians.
74 Upgrades to existing signalised junctions and roundabouts.