x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Plan for new and improved walkways in Abu Dhabi

Residents think repairs to uneven pavements and street potholes cannot come soon enough.

ABU DHABI // Nabeela Khan says she still has trouble walking after breaking her ankle on Hamdan Street three years ago.

"When I stepped down from the pavement near the Crowne Plaza hotel my foot landed in a hole in the road and I broke my ankle," Ms Khan says. "I was in severe pain. Thank God, my husband was with me and rushed me to the nearby Lifeline Hospital.

"It's been three years now but I am still unable to walk for long periods. If I walk too much it develops swelling and pain. I cannot even stand for a long time as it hurts."

Many residents say accidents such as Ms Khan's are common. Widespread construction work and little maintenance has resulted in walkways becoming uneven and littered, they say.

Some stretches of footpath have become so broken up that people walk on the road and take their chances with traffic.

The Urban Planning Council (UPC) has been rolling out new and upgraded pavements, wider sidewalks and footpaths as part of its 2030 plans.

"The implementation has already started," the UPC says, pointing to the Corniche and Salam Street as successfully completed projects. "It's an ongoing process."

The UPC is finalising a master plan for eight major blocks of the Abu Dhabi city centre.

"This is only the first step and this will be followed by the details design stage prior for the municipality to take it to implementation," the council says.

There are still problems on Hamdan and Electra streets, and in the Madinat Zayed, Khalidiya and Tourist Club areas.

"In front of Cristal Hotel you can fall into the underground parking because there are no barriers," warns businessman Ameen Mohsin.

Mr Mohsin says the Madinat Zayed area has been particularly neglected. "Big iron bars lie in the street and shattered bricks can injure passers-by.

"I understand bricks break up over a period of time but there needs to be renovation. No attention is being paid at all towards the crowded localities.

"I've been here more than a decade and there's been no development."