ABU DHABI // More than 2,500 new paid parking spots will be rolled out in the capital today. Between Khalifa Street, East Road, Street 6 and the Corniche Road, 1,937 metered spaces have been created, and in the area between Khalifa Street, Airport Road and the Corniche there will be 614 new spaces. These join the 5,884 spots that have been introduced since January, including 723 underground ones in May. By the end of the year, 29,776 paid parking spaces will have been created across the city.
Drivers can choose different options and prices, indicated by colour-coded kerbstones. Standard spots, with turquoise and black marking, are Dh2 per hour or Dh15 for the day. Premium parking is identified by turquoise and white kerbs and costs Dh3 an hour for a maximum four-hour stay. Paid parking is enforced from 8am to 9pm, except on Fridays. Individuals who live in an area where there are paid parking spots can apply for permits to park in standard spots for free.
The Department of Transport has said the paid parking scheme, dubbed Mawaqif, is designed to decrease traffic congestion and make it easier for people to find parking. Between 2005 and 2008 the number of vehicle registrations jumped 16 per cent, and the Department of Planning and Economy estimates that traffic congestion costs the UAE Dh5 billion a year in lost productivity. The "Department of Transport is introducing additional services with the aim of providing comprehensive and sustainable solutions to address the growing needs for parking", said Najib al Zarooni, the general manager of parking at the Department of Planning and Economy.
However, many residents complain they are rarely able to locate empty spaces in areas where the scheme has been implemented. The streets adjacent to paid parking areas have become increasingly congested since the scheme was implemented, and some side streets are often unpassable because of the number of double-parked cars, they say. The Department of Transport has warned people that they will still enforce parking laws 24 hours a day, and that their officers are targeting cars parked in the middle of streets and along non-designated kerbs.