x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Illegal U-turn tempts many motorists

Motorists have three options to reach the Indian Social & Cultural Centre near Meena Zayed: the easy way, the hard way and the illegal way.

A motorist makes an illegal U-turn near Mina Zayed and Indian Social & Cultural Centre.
A motorist makes an illegal U-turn near Mina Zayed and Indian Social & Cultural Centre.

ABU DHABI // Motorists have three options to reach the Indian Social & Cultural Centre near Meena Zayed: the easy way, the hard way and the illegal way. It is easy for motorists coming from the Tourist Club Area, who can turn into Meena Street towards the port, turn right on a road that runs past a fire station and then another right to reach their destination.

It is hard for drivers coming from just about any other direction; they have to travel about 15 minutes past the cultural centre, then back into the Tourist Club near Hamdan Street to get on the "easy" path. Then there is the illegal way. In front of the fire station is a junction marked for use by "official vehicles only". Frustrated drivers can shorten their journey there with a U-turn - but risk being caught and fined by police.

Godfrey Anthony, 43, has been choosing the hard way since traffic police began monitoring the U-turn spot more frequently. But he and the other 2,200 members at the cultural centre say they are frustrated by the isolation of the centre's lone access point. They say a legal turning lane for vehicles travelling towards the Corniche would solve the problem. "I am always travelling from Saadiyat and I am facing a lot of problems," said Mr Anthony, a member of the centre for 10 years who drives there most evenings after he completes his engineering job at Al Raha Beach.

"This is the only way to go to that road. If I take U-turn, sometimes police are catching me. "We need a change not only for that centre but also the pet shop people [who operate a store nearby]. All are going the same way." Yesterday afternoon, The National observed four consecutive vehicles completing the U-turn, although none were trying to access buildings on the other side. "Police come almost every day," said Raju BP, manager of the cultural centre. "It is their duty; we cannot blame them. But the thing is, the higher authority should take care of this. Otherwise, where is the option?"

An official from Abu Dhabi Municipality, which is responsible for the city's streets, said the authority would see what improvements could be made. "I have asked my team to check that location and see what safety and efficiency measures we can take," said Sami al Musawi Bani Hashim, an engineer and head of the municipality's road safety unit. Within an hour, a contractor called to say workers were on their way to the spot to take photos. The contractor said it would report back to the municipality.

Members of the public can raise similar concerns through the 993 hotline number, and their complaints will be forwarded to the relevant department, Mr Hashim said. mchung@thenational.ae