Abu Dhabi is getting ready to build five multi-storey car parks in the most populated areas across the city in a bid to solve its long-standing problem of parking space shortage.
The car parks are to be set up on top of already existing parking spaces. However, they will be built as makeshifts, so they can be moved to other areas of the city if the need arises.
Parking in Abu Dhabi has been an issue for many years - it sometimes takes hours for residents to find a place to leave their car.
Although Mawaqif, the paid parking company, has provided some solutions for the problem by providing more parking spaces, including eight multi-storey car parks announced in October 2010, the problem remains unsolved, due to an enormous shortage of parking spaces.
However, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council is hoping the new initiative will better serve the city.
"The project is part of the council's keenness to provide the best services for Abu Dhabi residents and visitors in accordance with its population growth," said a statement from the council.
Details of a time-frame for the project, which was announced yesterday, were not disclosed.
The five car parks will be built on already-existing parking spaces on Corniche Road, Khalifa bin Zayed Street and the inter-junction between Khaled bin Walid Street and Al Naser Street, as well as the inter-junction between Hamadan bin Mohammed Street and Al Najda Street.
The selection of the areas have been made based on the busiest areas in the city.
Residents in the city welcomed the move but called for a broader solution of the problem.
Mohammed Matar, a 30-year-old Emirati engineer, said he faces a major parking problem at his residency in Zayed City and at his work in Khaldiya. "We have 2,000 employees and only 100 parking spaces, which means that finding parking the majority of the times is an impossible task.
"If I come after 6am to work it means I have to circulate around the area for at least 40 minutes, or I park somewhere illegally and get fined," said Mr Matar, who pays an average of Dh 2,000 in parking tickets every month.
However, he added, "any move to solve the parking problem is better than nothing".
Al Mur Al Mansouri, a 26-year-old technical assistant at Adnoc, was more sceptical of the change the new parking places could bring. "I work in Al Khaldiya, which means that if I will were to use any of the proposed parking spots, once finished I have to walk for about 10 kilometres," he said. "Parking far away and having to cross many main roads is a risk factor," he added.
On Tuesday, Mr Al Mansouri was fined twice for parking illegally. "We are left with no choice as there is no parking in many of the places we frequent, whether it is a barber, a florist or, in some instances, even hotel," he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Council's committee also decided the establishment of an abattoir to New Shahama as part of the council's efforts to improve the services provided. The project will be implemented in two phases. The first establishment of the slaughterhouse will be on a building area of 2,029 square metres, while in the second phase the current abattoir will be transformed to shops.
Further details on when they will be completed have not been released.
The committee also announced the establishment of three kindergartens in Al Bahia, Al Foa'a and Al Falah, as part of the council's target to increase schools and kindergarten capacities in Abu Dhabi emirate. The committee is looking for a contracting company for the execution of the project.