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

Residents forced to illegal parking spots by construction

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.

Navdeep Suri, India's Ambassador to the UAE

There has been a longstanding need from the Indian community to have a religious premises where they can practise their beliefs. Currently there is a very, very small temple in Bur Dubai and the community has outgrown this. So this will be a major temple and open to all denominations and a place should reflect India’s diversity.

It fits so well into the UAE’s own commitment to tolerance and pluralism and coming in the year of tolerance gives it that extra dimension.

What we will see on April 20 is the foundation ceremony and we expect a pretty broad cross section of the Indian community to be present, both from the UAE and abroad. The Hindu group that is building the temple will have their holiest leader attending – and we expect very senior representation from the leadership of the UAE.

When the designs were taken to the leadership, there were two clear options. There was a New Jersey model with a rectangular structure with the temple recessed inside so it was not too visible from the outside and another was the Neasden temple in London with the spires in its classical shape. And they said: look we said we wanted a temple so it should look like a temple. So this should be a classical style temple in all its glory.

It is beautifully located - 30 minutes outside of Abu Dhabi and barely 45 minutes to Dubai so it serves the needs of both communities.

This is going to be the big temple where I expect people to come from across the country at major festivals and occasions.

It is hugely important – it will take a couple of years to complete given the scale. It is going to be remarkable and will contribute something not just to the landscape in terms of visual architecture but also to the ethos. Here will be a real representation of UAE’s pluralism.

Story behind the UAE flag

The UAE flag was first unveiled on December 2, 1971, the day the UAE was formed. 

It was designed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, 19, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi. 

Mr Al Maainah said in an interview with The National in 2011 he chose the colours for local reasons. 

The black represents the oil riches that transformed the UAE, green stands for fertility and the red and white colours were drawn from those found in existing emirate flags.

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