RTA to ease gridlock in business districts

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By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter  www.gulfnews.com

Dubai: Use of private vehicles in the Central Business Districts (CBDs) of Dubai is likely to be limited once the Green Line of the Dubai Metro becomes operational after August next year, said a senior official.

    * The evening traffic on Naif Road in Deira. The RTA will limit the use of private cars in the city’s Central Business Districts to ensure smooth traffic flow.     * Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
* The evening traffic on Naif Road in Deira. The RTA will limit the use of private cars in the city’s Central Business Districts to ensure smooth traffic flow. * Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

“The move is part of our plan to ease traffic congestion in the old city which is the hub of commercial activities and has always witnessed massive traffic jams,” said the official at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The official, on the condition of anonymity, said that the no car zone plan is part of the RTA’s strategy to ensure smooth traffic flow in the city.

“Some other similar plans introduced earlier are [the] Salik toll system and the integrated public transport system including the Dubai Metro, public buses and water transport,” he added.

Dubai Creek

The CBD areas fall on both sides of the Dubai Creek, which has been the lifeline of Dubai’s commercial activities. Some of the CBD areas include Baniyas, Al Buteen, Al Ras, Al Dhaghya, Ayal Nasir, Al Murar, Naif, Al Sabkha in Deira side of the Creek while Al Souk Al Kabeer, Al Shindagha, Ghubaiba, Meena Bazaar and Khalid Bin Waleed Road are in Bur Dubai.

The officials said the RTA would choose any area in the CBD and declare it a no car zone for one day only. That particular day, no private vehicle will be allowed to go into that particular area. Exemption will be given to residents of the chosen area and to others in emergency situations.

The same pattern will be repeated in other CBD areas on different days. The schedule for the no car zone areas will be announced well in advance.

“The aim is to encourage people to use public transport and leave their cars either at home or outside the CBD areas in order to reduce traffic congestion,” he said.

He added that the move will give a boost to the businesses activity in the CBD areas as it will be quicker for the businessmen and their customers to visit the areas.

The official did not give any time frame for launching the initiative. However, he said that the RTA is likely to implement this project soon after the launching of the Green Line of the Dubai Metro because it covers most parts of the CBD areas.

The 22.9km-long Green Line is scheduled to open after August next year. It runs from Al Ghusais to Al Jaddaf passing through Al Qiyadah, Abu Hail, Saluddin Roads, Union Square, Baniyas, Gold Souk, Al Ras, Al Ghubaiba, Al Fahidi, Khalid Bin Waleed, Oud Metha and Dubai Healthcare City stations. Most of its route through the CBD area is underground.

“The Green Line will comprehensively cover the CBD areas and it will be very convenient for commuters to leave their cars and use the public transport if they want to visit these areas,” he noted.

According to e RTA statistics, the use of public transport in Dubai has already increased from 6 per cent in 2007 to 12 per cent in 2010 with the launching of an integrated public transport system including the Metro and public buses.