DUBAI // An air-conditioned pavement in the sky measuring close to a kilometre in length has become the latest feature at Dubai Mall.
The glass-enclosed walkway, with its 10 airport-style travelators, runs from the second floor of the world's biggest shopping mall to the Burj Khalifa Metro station. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to walk the length of it.
"At 820 metres, the Metro link is one of the longest of its kind," said Ahmad Al Matrooshi, managing director of Emaar Properties.
"The direct connection with the Dubai Metro ... will help in reducing traffic and enable visitors to simply walk across from the station to Dubai Mall."
The walkway and its 70 to 120metre-long travelators can accommodate more than 13,500 pedestrians an hour. It also provides access to Souq Al Bahar, Emaar Square and Emaar Boulevard.
The designers say they were inspired by traditional Arabian latticing known as Mashrabiya, which can be seen in their use of projecting windows and stained glass panels.
Marina Salvaridi, a tourist from Russia, said the walkway was convenient for newcomers like herself who struggled to find their way around.
"This direct access from the station ensures I do not get lost," she said. "It is also good because we are out of the heat."
Lea Distrito, a shop attendant in Dubai Mall, said it was great to get a little exercise.
"Also, it's nice to be able to see from the windows the other landmarks in the area as we head to the mall."
For Smita Baser, the walk was too exhausting. The mother of two, who has lived in Dubai for 10 years, usually takes one of the feeder buses that operate between the station and the mall's entrance.
"If I were alone, it would be fine. But it is a little tiring with two children in tow," said Ms Baser.
"I thought I'd take this because they were promoting it at the information desk. I did not realise it would be such a long walk."