Sharjah residents were relieved after learning that the four footbridges in some of the busiest districts of the emirate are now open. Finally, people will stop jaywalking, they said.
The Sharjah Urban Planning Council recently announced the opening of the pedestrian bridges on King Faisal Street, King Abdulaziz Street, Al Ittihad Street and Al Nahda Road, areas that usually see high traffic volumes. Constructed at a cost of Dh100 million, the bridges have overhead shades; a clean, modern look; and they are also well lit at night, based on the photos tweeted by the council on Tuesday.
Residents who live in the neighbourhood are no strangers to the jaywalkers on these streets. Children crossing on their own; workers dashing from one side to the other; and some almost hit by speeding cars – they have seen it all. With the bridges up, families, kids, as well as workers and housemaids – who are usually spotted running their way across the busy roads – will now be safer, residents said.
Zahra Nasar, a Pakistani resident of Sharjah’s Al Majaz neighbourhood, said: “I was born and raised in the UAE. The new bridge on King Faisal Street is only two blocks away from my home. All these bridges are definitely a good initiative as it is going to prevent a lot of accidents. Often, I see kids trying to cross on their own and I’ve been very close to meeting with an accident on this particular street.”
Nasar recommended opening another bridge on Al Wahda Street. “It has a few subways, but there are no pedestrian crossings on the road. People have to sometimes walk very long distances to get to their destination.”
Priyanka Dasgupta, an Indian student and a Sharjah resident since 2007, said: “I also live in Al Majaz. Jaywalking is something people would resort to because, sometimes, the crossing might be too far from their residence and their final destination. Having more of these crossings in the emirate would really help, given the rate accidents are taking place.”
Police have repeatedly warned residents against jaywalking, a violation punishable with a Dh400 fine. But more than the penalty, such dangerous behaviour could cost someone his life. Figures released by the authorities show that in Sharjah, a total of 30 pedestrians were reported to have died after being run over in 2018. Other emirates have also be addressing the same issue.
Divya Narwani, an Indian mum who lives in Sharjah’s Abu Shagarah, said they have been waiting for the crossing to open for quite a while. “I am glad that it had finally opened up. The one on King Faisal Street would be most convenient for me because, sometimes, I have had to drive 15 minutes to get to retail outlets on the other side of the street when it is only a two-minute walk from my home.”