There is a growing demand for a pedestrian bridge on Grand Hamad Street, which is known as one of the busiest roads in Doha.
The road is used by not only a large number of commuters and office-goers on working days, but also by huge groups of people - particularly workers - on weekends.
Popularly known as 'Bank Street', the stretch extending from the Sword signal to the Doha Corniche - and its adjacent areas - are home to a number of banks, other offices, eateries, several exchange houses, the Doha Bus Station, a major tourist destination such as Souq Waqif and jewellery stores. Also, due to its central location and proximity to the Corniche, it serves as a major artery to reach a number of key destinations in the city.
Besides cars, public transport buses, taxis and other vehicles, the road is also used by a large number of pedestrians every day. In particular, it is seen that the number of walkers increases on weekend evenings as blue-collar expatriates gather in the area to visit the Corniche or other neighbouring localities.
The distance people have to walk between signals on Grand Hamad Street to find a safe, designated crossing point is less compared to many other roads, but it is still quite a bit, say regular users of the road. "Though aware of the dangers of crossing a busy road through an undesignated area, many people still choose to do so - by 'squeezing' through gaps that have appeared on median fence - because it saves them both time and efforts," said a resident who uses the road every day.
While acknowledging that pedestrians must heed traffic rules as much as motorists, another commuter said they should also be given viable options - such as a bridge or an underpass - to cross the road safely. "The need for such a facility is especially high during this time of the year as walking even short distances could be really tough due to the high temperature and humidity," he added.
Besides pedestrians, many motorists also need to cross the road on a daily basis, it is found. These motorists - including people working in offices along Grand Hamad Street as well as visitors - park their vehicles in the open spaces on one side of the road (near the bus station) and have to cross the road in order to reach their offices.
Many visitors, shop operators and motorists also point out that having a pedestrian bridge on the road will help facilitate the smooth flow of traffic in the area. "People crossing the road randomly not only slows down traffic but also poses a major safety risk. This is dangerous for motorists and pedestrians alike. Something like a bridge would really help address this issue," said a resident who passes through the area every day to reach office.
Sources said the authorities, on their part, had announced sometime ago that work on a pedestrian bridge would be taken up in the area. "This should happen fast as the need is urgent," said another commuter.
New pedestrian bridges have been built along a number of key roads and more are in the pipeline, according to officials. Among the recent ones are pedestrian bridges on E-Ring Road and Airport Road.
It is expected that some 14 new pedestrian bridges will be opened in different locations across Doha and its immediate neighbourhood over the next two years, according to an official.
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