x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Residents forced to illegal parking spots by construction

Construction of parking bays in a busy residential and commercial area has led many drivers to park along the yellow and grey kerbs, risking a Dh300 fine.

Residents, workers and visitors in the area around Hamdan Street are finding it difficult to find parking spaces because of ongoing construction. Delores Johnson / The National
Residents, workers and visitors in the area around Hamdan Street are finding it difficult to find parking spaces because of ongoing construction. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // Drivers are running the risk of Dh300 fines by parking along yellow and grey kerbs in a busy residential and commercial area, because of continuing work to build more parking spots.

Spaces for cars in the area off Hamdan Street, behind Starbucks and the Daman building, are in high demand.

Also in the area are the Emirates College of Technology, Al Noor Hospital, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and residential buildings and offices.

Since work began in September, residents and visitors say they can drive around for more than 30 minutes looking for a space. Many end up parking along the yellow and grey kerbs.

“We didn’t face this problem for so many years,” said Mohanad Kalouf, 40, a Syrian who has lived in the area for 15 years and is the owner of the Princes Salon.

“But they are building this multi-storey car park nearby, which we hope will help ease our parking problems.”

He said some of his customers had been fined.

The demolition of three buildings in the area has aggravated the situation, said Mahmoud Jamal, 28, assistant sales manager at a hotel suppliers company.

“They’re taking up a lot of the parking space near our building,” Mr Jamal said. “My colleagues and I find it very difficult to get a parking spot.”

Edwin Bacolod, 47, a Filipino who works for an air-conditioning company, has a resident’s parking permit but that does not guarantee him a parking spot.

The permit allows him to park in any bay in his neighbourhood at any time without paying additional charges.

“Because of the construction work in the area, Mawaqif has shown leniency towards resident permit holders,” said Mr Bacolod. “We are allowed to park along the yellow and grey kerbs.”

Those without permits pay for standard parking marked by turquoise and black kerbs, which costs Dh2 an hour or Dh15 a day. Premium parking, at turquoise and white kerbs, costs Dh3 an hour and has a four-hour limit.

On Wednesday morning, Mr Bacolod parked his vehicle in line with others along the yellow and grey kerbs near his building.

A Mawaqif inspector who walked past the area did not issue him a fine.

“He has a resident parking permit and this is a one-way street, so he is allowed to park here,” the inspector said.

But he issued tickets to cars parked along the yellow and grey kerbs on both sides of the street near the Bin Moosa Travel building.

“This is a two-way street,” the inspector said. “They’re blocking the smooth flow of traffic.”

While construction is continuing, resident permit holders are also allowed to park in the premium spaces, he said.

“Some people are careless,” the inspector said. “They complain, ‘the Mawaqif inspector didn’t tell me’, but they can call our office for more information.”

Another resident permit holder, who declined to be identified, said she was issued with a fine in December for parking along the yellow and grey kerbs despite an assurance from another inspector that it was allowed. She successfully contested the fine.

But requests to cancel two fines issued in January and this month were rejected.

“It’s so disappointing,” said the mother of two, who recently renewed her permit. “Mawaqif should give us clearer information where we’re allowed to park. When will the new parking lot be ready?”

The Department of Transport did not respond to requests for comment.

rruiz@thenational.ae