ABU DHABI // Drivers have welcomed the construction of new parking bays in an area of Abu Dhabi where it can take up to 30 minutes to find a space.
Places to park in the area off Al Falah Street, near to the Department of Economic Development, are in high demand, but it is understood that two car parks are being built.
Egyptian Mahitab Helaly, a secretary, said she was happy to hear that more spaces will be available.
"I sometimes drive and find it very difficult to park," the 24-year-old said. "I keep going around many times to find parking. Most of the time I have a driver from work, so it's easier."
Joseph James, a supply chain manager who has worked in the area for six years, said drivers could sometimes spend up to half an hour searching for a space.
"Everyone will tell you, it's miserable. It's very difficult," said the 40-year-old Egyptian.
"Generally, it takes time to find parking but with the construction [of the new parking spaces] it's more difficult."
Mr James said some of the current spaces have been blocked because of the construction work, but he thinks it will be worth it.
"I have to be positive if this will help later, after some time," he said, adding that it was good the Government was finding a solution to the parking issue.
Mahmoud Amouna, from Palestine, has lived in Abu Dhabi for 28 years and remembers when parking in the capital was much more haphazard.
"There was no parking at all," said the 50-year-old. "People went to park wherever they liked, on the pavement, anywhere, any space they put their car - now it's better," he said.
Mr Amouna acknowledged that it was difficult to park in this particular area of Abu Dhabi but said new facilities would see the issue improve.
Maqsood Hussain, from Pakistan, agreed that parking off Al Falah Street was a problem. The 47-year-old works for a nearby laboratory as a driver, collecting samples, from health centres in Abu Dhabi. He uses two modes of transport.
"Sometimes I use the car and sometimes I use the motorcycle. The motorcycle is easy. It causes me no problems," he said, adding that additional parking would be "very good".
Jamal Rahima leaves his car 20 minutes away from where he works as an IT administrator to avoid driving around looking for a closer space.
"Wasting 20 minutes on walking is better than spending 30 minutes looking for parking," the 33-year-old Syrian said.
"I have heard about building parking spaces. It's always good to have more spaces. I hope when they build more spaces that I will be able to park closer to work."
One of the two car parks is thought to be a permanent three-storey underground facility. The second, which is nearby, is believed to be a temporary one-storey car park.
The Department of Transport was unable to provide further details on the car parks at this time.
Parking in the capital has been an issue for some years but efforts are being made to ease the problem.
Mawaqif manages about 98,000 parking spaces on the island and about 10,500 of these have been created since it began in 2009.
Of these, about 6,000 are considered new and about 4,000 were reclaimed from spaces filled with rubbish and abandoned vehicles. There are plans for another 10,500 spaces by 2016.
Five multi-storey car parks that received funding approval by the Executive Council in January will provide 2,032 parking spaces by next year. It will take two to three months before the concept design is approved and deadlines depend on funding.
A study is also under way to examine paid parking for the city's motorcycles.