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Friday, October 22, 2021

Al Sadd St. shopkeepers despair over upcoming road closures

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Construction is coming to another busy Doha road this month, as Qatar Rail advances on plans to roll out a new Al Sadd St. metro station.

Shopkeepers and restauranteurs said they have received notices from the rail company that they will be closing different sections of Al Sadd over the next three years, starting Oct. 15.

Many have expressed dismay about the plans, saying the works would cost them a number of customers and millions of riyals in business.

Al sadd/saad - QR letter 2 new

The construction will mean the removal of the service road and parking adjacent to a section of shops and restaurants at the western end of Al Saad St., near the junction with Jawan Street.

While some work in the area is already underway and hoardings have already been erected near the road, the latest closures have yet to take effect.

Under the plans, the hoardings would be moved to stand just over one meter from the shop fronts, making it impossible for vehicles to park in the area, or even drive up to drop off customers. A short passage will remain for pedestrians to access the stores.

According to the details of the Qatar Rail letter, the program of construction for the station was due to begin on Oct. 10, with deep excavation works in the area scheduled to start on May 7, 2015.

Metro plans

Al Saad station will be one of 11 stations on Doha Metro’s Gold Line, which will run West-East from Villaggio mall, under Al Waab street, along Al Saad street and eventually through to the northern end of the former Doha airport’s runway.

Doha Metro Phase 1 - Gold Line

In April, a consortium led by Greek-based Aktor won a $4.4 billion contract for the line’s design and build, with a completion date set for August 2018.

Other lines that would cover the 37 stations open to passenger traffic by 2019 include Hamad International Airport, the Msheireb Downtown Doha project, Education City, West Bay and Lusail, where passengers can transfer to light-rail vehicles that will connect up to Al Khor.

Loss of business

Once one of the busiest commercial streets in the city, Al Sadd St. is home to many decades-old shops and eateries that are regarded by many residents as Doha institutions.

One of them is Al Khaima Arabic restaurant, which has been operating in the same location for nearly 30 years.

Speaking to Doha News yesterday, the general manager, who asked not to be named, said he feared for the future of the eatery:

“We are a very popular restaurant – we have nearly 1,100 customers a day, on average, and lots of regulars who have known us for years.

But when these works start, there will be no parking, nowhere for people even to be dropped off. It will be like a highway outside our door. How can our customers get to us – by parachute or helicopter, and land on the roof?”

The manager estimated that the upcoming diversions would cost him up to QR4 million a year in lost business, particularly from customers who used the take-away service.

When asked how he felt about the construction, he added:

“I am very sad, not only for my business or income but for my customers. I hope some will still come to us, although they will have to park very far away and walk. But some will not come back – they will go to other restaurants that are easier to get to.

We will have to adapt. Maybe we will do more deliveries, maybe we will try to open another branch, although that is very expensive.”

Further down the street, Al Khan Textile tailors has also been operating for nearly 30 years.

Speaking to Doha News about the upcoming diversions, Manager Abdul Rashid said:

“If this street really does get closed like they say, then this will be a big problem for us. How will my customers get to me?

“We have been here a long time – we are a famous shop in Doha and we have many VIP customers. They will not want to park and walk in the dust to reach here.”

Also yesterday, the owner of a menswear store who asked not to be named said he was conferring with shop keepers in the area to discuss a way forward that would enable the businesses in the street to keep operating.

“We are taking some steps. Maybe we can reach a compromise, although I am not totally hopeful,” he told Doha News.

C-Ring works

The latest planned works are yet another blow to businesses in the surrounding area, many of which are already struggling as Ashghal continues its overhaul of C-Ring Road.

The public works authority has taken steps to mitigate the impact on businesses on the stretch of C-ring between Radisson Blu (Ramada) signal and Al Mana Towers by providing temporary parking and pedestrian walkways.

But business owners told Doha News that the construction on the busy road had put off many of their customers, with footfall down to just a couple of customers on a Thursday afternoon for one Arabic sweet shop by Al Mana Towers.

Thoughts?

20 COMMENTS

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Matt9005
Matt9005
6 years ago

😀

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

I understand that they are upset and worried about their businesses but honestly, the rail is a national project of the highest importance and that comes before some businessmen’s interests. It would be great though if the government agrees to some sort of compensation to these outlets as the construction works will cause a huge disruption to their businesses.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Very true. There is always someone upset by progress.

Truth-Seeker
Truth-Seeker
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

It is the unjustified length of time that those projects take. We are not talking about months here, we’re talking years my friend! So I do understand their plight.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Truth-Seeker

You can’t say the timescale for the project is unjustified. Based on past experience of Doha projects and their wildly optimistic programmes, and particularly due to the difficulties and unknowns that will appear from nowhere I think the timescale is tight.

Doua Ben
Doua Ben
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I totally agree with you Yacine, but this kind of complaint could have been easily avoided had everything been planned: roads would have been bigger, more parking slots…. and in any case, I believe that the metro, while it’s a good project, should have been done way way earlier. When the country had a population of less than 1 million, and when traffic was 10 times better. Qatar should have known that its population was going to increase and should have anticipated better infrastructure. What do you think ?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Doua Ben

Theoretically you are absolutely right, but we all know that in practice things are different. When the population here was 1 million (2009 or 2010) nobody was talking about the rail project or any other massive project. They were all ideas planned for the future with no concrete deadlines.
It is only when Qatar won the World Cup bid that things became serious and decision-makers knew that they have now to deliver on all the gigantic projects they promised in the bid.
Unfortunately the pressure and stress created by the World Cup are doing more harm than good to the country in my opinion.

smd
smd
6 years ago

I am sure all these key issues and prior notices were covered in the public enquiry process and local business consultation and mitigation planning….:-)

AnonymityBreedsContempt
AnonymityBreedsContempt
6 years ago
Reply to  smd

I’ve seen this sort of thing happen frequently in the U.S. as well. Perhaps the restaurant owners could set up a shuttle service.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

And where will the shuttle stop?

greylag
greylag
6 years ago

The government pays compensation to owners in such cases. It will have been paid long ago.

Osama Alassiry
6 years ago

The cheese was here… Who moved my cheese?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Osama Alassiry

It’s ok, I’ve got it.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

No, I think the Baladiya have it, along with all that sliced meat……Now need the bakers to go on strike.

Peter Draper
Peter Draper
6 years ago

as a professional skydiver and tandem instructor I like the Parachute and Helicopter idea. I will be available to jump customers in (for a fee of course)……..

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago

I bought a ton of Qgrabs coupons for California Tortilla recently. Can’t use them because there is no where to park. Someone suggested to park at the Raddison and walk over. Cross Salwa Rd with 3 kids for a taco? No thank you. 300qr down the drain…

brorick
brorick
6 years ago

there is parking by al jassim building and you can walk over easily

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

Pedestrian walkways on C ring????

They are joking right!

I don’t even bother to try and negotiate C ring down from Radisson to ToysRUs by car and I hate having to go on foot, but it is quicker.
I park on Mergab St and walk. And I can tell you ‘pedestrian walkways’ which are about one foot wide ( if you are lucky), between a wall and the barricades and very rough terrain often end with a dead end wherein you have no choice but to double back or climb over the barricades. Then you have to decide to either walk all the way down to the next set of lights and then walk all the way back once you’ve crossed whilst you are standing there looking at the building you want to get to.
In the end you take your life In your hands and find a break in the barricades and wave at each driver sitting in the traffic jam bored out of his/ her brains as you cross the lanes and negotiate the sand pit/ cones/ broken bricks on the other side, to get to where you want to go.

This will also be Al Saad.
Ashgal please please, just finish one road first. Just one…

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

Yep-dear managers…no matter how much I’d like to visit your store/restaurant, it’t not worth the hassle and reality of being hit.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

I’m afraid it’s impossible to make an omelette without cracking eggs, especially in a crowded city where the infrastructure is being installed after the buildings. What I hope is that all construction Clients look at the lessons of past and current projects and try to engender some form of relationship with the contractors and the workforce because if not then completion by 2018 will be a vain hope.

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