x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Ain staggers school timings to cut traffic

Schools in Al Ain will have to change their timings next year as the municipality looks to easing traffic on a major road that serves 33 schools.

Most schools in Al Ain are on Khaled bin Sultan Street, and authorities say there is a need for a staggered start time as a way to reduce morning traffic and keep school children safe.
Most schools in Al Ain are on Khaled bin Sultan Street, and authorities say there is a need for a staggered start time as a way to reduce morning traffic and keep school children safe.

AL AIN // School timings are to be changed permanently from next year to reduce traffic congestion in the Falaj Hazza area.

Al Ain Municipality will also no longer issue permits for new school construction or extensions.

But “the decision does not prohibit existing schools in the locality from carrying out improvements”, said Dr Dlair Abdulkarim, a transport planning adviser at the municipality.

Most schools in Al Ain are on Khaled bin Sultan Street, with 33 schools serving more than 32,000 pupils. This causes heavy traffic and a need for school start times to be staggered, Dr Abdulkarim said.

“The municipality will also work with parents and engineers from the municipality, who will execute the plans for reducing the traffic congestion in 2013,” he said.

The specific timings have not yet been decided.

“We are collecting feedback and it will be announced next year by Abu Dhabi Education Council [Adec],” Dr Abdulkarim said.

In the past six months, the municipality has surveyed schools, parents and residents to formulate a plan for timings in the area.
Most schools start at 7.30am and finish at 2.10pm, with 10 to 15-minute differences at some.

With office workers also on the roads then, traffic congestion plagues Falaj Hazza, also known as “school road”.

The municipality is coordinating a plan with Adec and the Urban Planning Council (UPC) to revise the distribution of future school plots to avoid further congestion.

The traffic issues are being resolved with representatives from the Department of Transport, UPC, Adec, the municipality and Abu Dhabi Police.

A study proposed changing the timings at 18 private schools on the most affected part of the road.
The municipality aims to involve more schools to comprehensively resolve the congestion issues and guarantee smoother traffic flow.

anwar@thenational.ae