Al Bandar and Al Muneera communities bemoan lack of proper walkway

Pedestrians say they are at risk because of the lack of a continuous footpath between the developments at the eastern end of Al Raha Beach.

Residents of Al Bandar and Al Muneera walk along the road to cross from one community to the other. Reem Mohammed / The National
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ABU DHABI // The lack of a continuous footpath between Al Bandar and Al Muneera developments on the eastern end of Al Raha Beach has put pedestrians at risk, say residents.

The waterfront pedestrian walkway linking the developments has yet to be completed, said an Al Bandar resident.

“This is despite Aldar hailing the developments as landmarks that have been open to the public for several years now,” she said.

“Pedestrians walking between the two developments have no other option but to risk life and limb, walk along the road, and clamber over concrete blocks and rough sand.”

Aldar, in a statement issued on Thursday, said it was in the final stages of preparing additional pedestrian walkways along the Promenade Boulevard between Al Bandar and Al Muneera, and would keep residents informed of the progress.

Al Bandar is Aldar's residential and marina development, notable for its modern, glass-fronted apartments and duplexes, loft residences and family apartments built on the shores of Al Raha Beach. It has a Spinneys supermarket, a pharmacy, an optician, nail salon, gym, and cafes and restaurants.

Adjacent to Al Bandar is Aldar's Al Muneera district, a gated community of apartments, townhouses and villas.

Residents from both communities regularly walk between the developments to visit shops and medical facilities.

“There is a safe walkway for Al Bandar that has been open for some time, across the bridge to the boulevard traffic lights,” Aldar said. “Pedestrians have to cross the boulevard, walk along the E11 side of the Al Muneera traffic lights, and cross the boulevard to Al Muneera.”

But residents said that although a makeshift pedestrian walkway had been built at Al Bandar alongside clearly marked zebra crossings and a crossing with a traffic signal, there was no continuous pedestrian walkway between the developments.

On a recent weekday afternoon, The National found at least six pedestrians clambering over a white concrete block and then walking along the pavement near the main road, which had temporary white and red barriers.

“The pavement is not complete,” said an Al Bandar resident, showing the sand area near the traffic junction. “And it’s impossible for mothers with prams or young children, who have no alternative but to step into the road and face oncoming traffic.”

While some pedestrians managed to walk on rough sand, residents who carried bags of groceries or pulled shopping trolleys from Spinneys in Al Bandar were forced to walk on the main road, exposed to vehicular traffic, before reaching Al Muneera.

“One weekend, I saw an elderly man, partially paralysed from a stroke, struggle one-handed and limping as he dragged a shopping cart home containing groceries,” said an Al Bandar resident. “It’s disgraceful, and it’s just a question of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.”

Aldar, however, said: “On the beach side of the boulevard, we have landscaping in place and some members of the public are using this area as a short cut between the two traffic lights.”

“Based on my experience living in Dubai and seeing the developments in Abu Dhabi, typically a pedestrian walkway is considered an amenity as opposed to a basic requirement,” said Glenn Havinoviski, a transport expert in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s a pity that pedestrians are not a priority in most cases,” said Roshanara Sait, director of Ciel Marketing & Events, which organises road safety awareness campaigns. “On the other hand, I’ve noticed pedestrians running across six-lane roads despite a pedestrian bridge a couple of metres away. It boils down to education and awareness.

“That’s why we feel strongly about inculcating a good sense of road safety in children.”