Abu Dhabi residents call for street numbers instead of confusing names

Street signs in Abu Dhabi will now come with names and numbers, in order to put an end to confusion.

Delma Street and 13th – hybrid signs putting travellers to Abu Dhabi right. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
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ABU DHABI // Abu Dhabi’s ambitious multimillion-dirham street-sign project has not had the smoothest rollout.

First there were street numbers, then there were street names. Now the Department of Municipal Affairs has introduced a hybrid version with names and numbers to try to dispel any confusion.

Many motorists and residents said street signs with only a name were confusing, but that numbers defined routes perfectly.

Manpreet Singh, an Indian taxi driver in Abu Dhabi, said there had been confusion because many streets had similar names.

But since numbers are there, there could be only one 11th street in the city, which is Hazza bin Zayed Street, Mr Singh said. “It’s perfect now. Street name and the number. Most customers feel comfortable with numbers.”

For example, Al Falah Street was known before as Passport Road and recently the DMA added a number to it which is 9th street.

Similarly, Hazza bin Zayed First street was Defence Road but now it got a number too – 11th street.

Under the continuing street number addition process, there are plenty of streets, which already got numbers include Delma 13th, Mohammed bin Khalifa 15th, Zayed The First 7th, Shakhbout bin Sultan 19th, Dihan 21st, Salama bint Buti 23rd and Mawgab 27th streets.

But many streets are yet to get one.

“Now the training is provided for both street names and numbers,” the taxi driver said, for example, in training we are taught Hazza bin Zayed First street and its number which is 11.

“To avoid any confusion while transporting passengers, we are even told the old names, too. Like Hazza bin Zayed and Al Falah streets were known by Defence and Passport roads,” Mr Singh said.

Emiratis have expressed their satisfaction with the addition of numbers to existing road signs, which many said was good for those coming from other Emirates.

Emirati Naji Al Arefi, public relations officer at a bank in Abu Dhabi, said it is a problem for newcomers and to the emirate.

“I believe names along with street numbers is a perfect match and wouldn’t create any confusion and [it is] easy to grasp as well,” Mr Al Arefi said.

“But there is no problem for locals and we are familiar with all names and localities. But those coming from Dubai and northern emirates will rely on street signs,” he said.

Expatriates said that not having numbers on the street signs caused confusion.

Shafi Haider Khan, from Pakistan, said every month thousands of visitors and tourists come to Abu Dhabi, and many get confused due to the often similar Arabic names.

“But since the numbers are there, it wouldn’t be any problem,” Mr Khan said, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for 10 years.

“For us still we know localities from its old names. But when friends visit from other emirates they find difficult to locate the place,” he said.

According to the DMA, by November, there will be more than 200,000 unique building addresses, 12,000 new street names, 200 district names and 20,000 road signs.

The system, intended to be based on the UK’s system, will cover 120 districts in Abu Dhabi, 56 in Al Gharbia and 68 in Al Ain, and aims to make the emirate’s streets more easily navigable.

The Department of Municipal Affairs and Abu Dhabi Municipality refused to comment despite repeated requests over the last month.