x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The future should call for fewer cars, not more

The new manual for 2030 seems to be nothing short of a huge road building programme with greenwash applied.

A native of the Seychelles islands disputes a report that its beaches are disappearing due to global warming. He attributes the ebb and flow of beaches to cyclical monsoon weather.
A native of the Seychelles islands disputes a report that its beaches are disappearing due to global warming. He attributes the ebb and flow of beaches to cyclical monsoon weather.

In reference to the front page news article Road map to a healthy future for the capital (February 21), the new manual for 2030 seems to be nothing short of a huge road building programme with greenwash applied. It advocates new through roads carving up the backwaters and quiet residential quarters of Abu Dhabi. Adding these extra through roads will mean that oases of calm would be destroyed for the benefit of increased road capacity. There are currently relatively few traffic free areas.

The practice in Europe is to provide good access to residential and commercial areas, but to reduce routes running through them. Access into and out of blocks should be improved, yes, but not by destroying quiet areas. There are local precedents, such as Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai and Yas Island. In fact the latter was lauded in these pages as being a blueprint for the city. The Urban Planning Council's approach is fundamentally different. As it stands, this manual seems to be manna for car drivers and a blow to public transport users, cyclists and walkers. Many studies have shown that to encourage the use of alternatives to the car, pedestrian access and public transport should be the priority. It is the access for cars that should be reduced. This new plan is a missed opportunity. Austin Optare, Abu Dhabi

The plan is great in theory, but in practice it means more closure of roads and congested areas like Salam Street. It looks like the residents of Abu Dhabi will have a hard time between now and 2030. My advice to the planners is solve the problem of parking first - "the sea of cars". Start building multi-storey car parks. This will ease the problems ahead.

Osama Kdair, Abu Dhabi I laud the efforts made by the Urban Planning Council, but does downtown Abu Dhabi need schools of all things? When half the year's daytime temperatures remain above 35 degrees, how can walking for more than a few hundred metres be considered a practical option? Wouldn't it be better to channel traffic out of downtown Abu Dhabi? Mohammad M, Abu Dhabi

I refer to Rising sea level poses threat to Seychelles (February 11). I was born near and grew up almost on Beau Vallon beach. My house is a few metres from the beach. At 59 years old, I have known my country and Beau Vallon beach longer than the 32-year-old scuba diving instructor quoted in the article. Every year at this time of the year (November to May), during the northwest monsoon, Beau Vallon beach disappears, caused by the shifting tide. Most of the sandy beach is washed out to the sea to 20 or 30 metres, which causes the waves to crash on the beach. This year, less of the beach has actually been washed out. In April, the beach will start to come back, the waves will disappear and the wall of the resort hotel will be level with the beach. This phenomenon has nothing to do with global warming. Paul Cho, Seychelles

In reference to the article Abandoned cars are still with us (February 15), I had the displeasure of driving around Musaffah on Saturday and can only say that it is a disgrace to Abu Dhabi. The number of abandoned cars, trucks, pickups and buses appears to be on the increase. It will take millions of dirhams to clear them all in an environmental manner. I also suspect that many of the businesses will deny all knowledge of ownership and therefore it will eventually fall to the municipality to fund the disposal. They can only blame themselves for having to outlay this cost due to a non-caring attitude. Of course, the Municipality could invest in a car crusher and recycling plant that may offer some payback for the costs.

Another alternative would be to invite Hollywood film producers to use the area for a sequel to the Mad Max films. There would be no need to arrange the set as it is ready and waiting. John Stredwick, Abu Dhabi

The article Light at the end of the tunnel? Not yet (February 18) reported that the first Salam Street tunnel opened. Hope! It's the only relief from the severe nervousness and despair that every morning grips drivers steering across the labyrinth of newly created temporary diversions around Salam Street. Till such time when we can see that light at the end of the tunnel, I appeal on behalf of hundreds like me who suffer at the hands of a few reckless drivers that traffic officers be posted at these pressure points during morning peak hours. Especially in the Tourist Club area and Abu Dhabi Mall. This will discourage unruly drivers who ignore signs and create traffic jams. Syed Qamar Hasan, Abu Dhabi