New traffic control measures on The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai have been praised by residents.
A road safety review was conducted in the area after a Filipina dog-walker died after she was hit by a minibus near the Shoreline 12 area in February.
That resulted in new speed cameras, protective fences and crossings being added to the area in a bid to slow down traffic and make it safer for pedestrians. Nakheel, the master developer of The Palm Jumeirah, described the recent works as "standard measures".
Cars are restricted to 60 kilometres per hour along the Shoreline and Golden Mile stretches of road that connect the mainland with thousands of apartments, villas and hotels.
Despite the improvements, some living in the area have called for more action before a busy winter tourism season.
“The safety measures have improved traffic, but cars are still speeding,” said Carla Julian, a teacher at Move On Yoga, who has lived on The Palm for five years.
“It doesn’t seem like the cameras are making a difference to the way everyone is driving. Motorists are more respectful but, of course, it is summer so it is very quiet.
“We will have to wait a month or two before we see if it has really made a significant difference.”
Nakheel Mall and several new hotels have further increased traffic along Shoreline in recent years.
“Shoreline, where the terrible accident happened, has improved but speeding traffic is still an issue at the Golden Mile, which is like a racetrack at times,” said Ms Julian.
“There is more traffic on Shoreline and roadworks there, so cars are forced to slow down anyway.
“Pedestrian bridges would be a far simpler option, as the traffic would not have to stop and it can continue to flow.
"There is a lot of construction traffic and delivery vehicles, so it can get very busy. People do not always want to stop for pedestrians.”
Road safety is a top priority for those living on The Palm, particularly those with young families.
Mandy Sanger, a British mother of two who has lived on The Palm for about three years, said near misses with pedestrians and speeding vehicles had become a regular occurrence.
“These measures are an improvement and have helped, but there is still noise and dangerous driving,” she said.
“It is still really dangerous to use the pedestrian crossing and that is a worry. There have been so many near misses, almost on a daily basis.
“I had to pull my daughter away from the road when a car failed to stop at a red light on the crossing.”
The UAE has invested heavily to reduce the number of road deaths in recent years, increasing the number of speed cameras, fines and priority crossings for pedestrians across various parts of the country.
According to figures from the Ministry of Interior, road deaths fell from a five-year high of 725 in 2016, to 381 in 2021.
Briton Stuart Healey is a long-term resident of the Golden Mile and has owned his apartment since 2013. He wants more action taken against irresponsible delivery drivers.
“Nakheel is definitely doing a lot of good things to improve road safety, with speed cameras and other additional measures,” he said.
“But the service road along both Shoreline and Golden Mile is a major concern. It often has commercial vehicles reversing as they need to [gain] access [to] the supermarket and they don’t want to [go] around the one-way system.
“I have seen a nanny with a pram almost get knocked down by a taxi and my wife was almost hit a week ago by a reversing delivery van.”
With new hotels such as the Hilton Palm Jumeirah, Radisson Resort, Marriott Resort, NH Dubai and Atlantis, The Royal hotel all due to open later this year on the man-made island, traffic is likely to increase.
Residents such as Mr Healey are concerned about the impact that will have on those living permanently on the island.
“There is a lot more congestion now with the new hotels opening on the Golden Mile. There is an unfinished bridge that needs to be completed; that would certainly help as rush hour is a nightmare,” he said.
“It would enable traffic to flow more freely.”