x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Abu Dhabi makes streets more people-friendly

Take our poll: The Urban Planning Council is integrating pedestrian health and safety measures into its street-design manual after feedback from more than 300 stakeholders.

ABU DHABI // The Urban Planning Council (UPC) is integrating pedestrian health and safety measures into its street-design manual after feedback from more than 300 stakeholders.

The UPC yesterday said its upgraded manual would help to make streets more people-friendly, with safety benefits for pedestrians.

Its Urban Street Design Manual was introduced in 2010. Since then renovation projects have been carried out across Abu Dhabi, including Salam Street, Khalifa Street and Saadiyat Island, as well as areas in Al Ain and the Western Region.

The design of Salam Street has turned junctions there into some of the safest pedestrian crossings in the emirate, the council says.

The new right-turn lanes reduce the chances of pedestrian fatalities from 25 to 5 per cent, said Amer Al Hammadi, director of planning and infrastructure at the UPC.

The manual updates include a section on the health benefits of designs for Emirati neighbourhoods and refitting existing streets and junctions.

The authority has upgraded the urban street design in Emirati neighbourhoods to make footpaths wider, buffering them from traffic and providing for the possibility of street cafes and trees.

Lower-density neighbourhoods will also help to reduce road fatalities by slowing traffic and encouraging residents to walk to local services.

The upgrades were developed by the UPC in cooperation with the Department of Transport, the Department of Municipal Affairs, the three Abu Dhabi municipalities and other authorities.

"Because all trips begin and end with a walk, walking should be made as comfortable as possible all year round in Abu Dhabi," Mr Al Hammadi said.

anwar@thenational.ae