x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Dubai Mall car parks baffle drivers

Extra staff have been hired by Dubai's newest shopping centre to alleviate traffic chaos and help prevent drivers from getting lost in its expansive car parks.

DUBAI // Extra staff have been hired by Dubai's newest shopping centre to alleviate traffic chaos and help prevent drivers from getting lost in its expansive car parks. Shoppers flocking to Dubai Mall in its opening week were caught for hours in traffic jams on roads into the centre, while many became disorientated once inside the car parks.

The centre's owner, Emaar Properties, said it was appointing staff to help direct traffic and would try to encourage people to use the car park's ticket system, which helps pinpoint vehicles. The Dubai Mall has 14,000 spaces in three parks, two of which have more than 10 levels. The need for such measures was still evident this week, with shoppers getting lost on the way in and hunting for vehicles on the way out.

On Monday afternoon in the car park, one man said he was walking around for 25 minutes looking for his car. "I have not found it yet. I know it is this level but I don't have a clue where it is. Omar Alexander said it was the first time he had managed to get inside the centre after aborting several attempts because of heavy traffic. He said the routes into the mall were confusing. "On our way here, and it has happened before, we have ended up in building sites," Mr Alexander said. Signs leading through the car park also appear to have confused many shoppers with some saying it was not easy to navigate.

Another shopper, Susan Howell said: "It took about 30 minutes to get into the car park and another 20 minutes to find a parking space. Cars looking for spaces had to join a line of cars in search of the exit. It didn't really work too well." Amanda Bradshaw, from Australia, said her taxi missed the drop-off point on the way in and drove around the car park for more than 15 minutes. "We had to stop three times and ask for directions."

An Emaar spokesman said the management was working closely with the authorities to ensure easy access to the shopping centre, and that several access roads had been opened to help. "For a mall of global significance and international appeal, strong visitor inflow is natural. This was particularly so in the first weekend following the mall's opening. The authorities are working on further strengthening the traffic and road infrastructure, which will benefit visitors."

Temporary staff are directing visitors in and out of the mall and temporary signs were installed to support the permanent signs during the peak opening period, the Emaar spokesman said. The ticket system in the car park would also help drivers, and all levels of the park are colour-coded and carry a letter and number. eharnan@thenational.ae How can the problems at Dubai Mall be solved? Have your say at www.thenational.ae/yourview