x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Sharjah will levy fines on heavy lorries parked in residential areas

Sharjah Municipality has resumed enforcing an old law that bans heavy lorries from parking in residential areas.

SHARJAH // Abdullah Muhannad became increasingly frustrated when he drove home at night to the Nabba neighbourhood of Sharjah only to find heavy construction vehicles gobbling up residential parking places. "You find a truck taking up to three cars' parking slots just because they are demolishing some building in the neighbourhood or constructing another," said Mr Muhannad, 40, who is originally from Syria. "For long I have wondered why authorities don't do something."

Mr Muhannad's question is now being answered. Sharjah Municipality has resumed enforcing an old law that bans heavy lorries from parking in residential areas. With a building boom in progress, competition for parking in residential areas has grown intense. Now municipal authorities will patrol residential areas, particularly the neighbourhoods of Abu Shagara, Al Qassimia and Rolla, and will levy fines against violators of the lorry parking ban.

Mohammed Azhari, a senior official in Sharjah Municipality, said several residents had complained about construction vehicles parking at night in residential areas. The problem had made parking slots precious and had also led to an increase in minor accidents between the lorries and small vehicles. Mr Azhari said the municipality would also target vehicles parked in prohibited areas, such as places set aside for disabled drivers.

The campaign began on Sunday and will go through the Eid holidays, or until the authorities are convinced the problem is being solved. Faisal Khan, a Pakistani who lives in the Rolla neighbourhood, said the pace of construction was such that empty parking lots sometimes disappeared in a matter of hours. "We rely on a few empty lands near our buildings, but an empty land you left in the morning, you will find it fenced in the evening for construction of another building," he said.

"We wonder who gives out all these licences to investors without asking them to have space between each other and also provide parking for their tenants." Mr Khan suggested that residential areas should receive a significant portion of the Dh1 billion (US$270 million) recently donated to Sharjah by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, for infrastructure improvements.

Mr Khan suggested multi-storey car parks would be welcome. Sharjah Municipality announced last year that it had dedicated Dh200m to build up to six multi-storey car parks in three years. Among these was the Abu Shagara car park being built at the cost of Dh86m that collapsed recently, injuring six workers. @Email:ykakande@thenational.ae