After fielding months of noise pollution complaints from residents of the Pearl-Qatar, United Development Company (UDC), which manages the island, has promised to tackle the problem with an “action plan.”
For many tenants, the sound of motorbikes and cars revving their engines late into the night has become a big issue. Speaking to Doha News, a resident who asked to be identified only as Megan said:
“These last Thursday and Friday nights the motor bike riders were back with a vengeance, revving up their bikes just outside the towers – several times. We live in a society where consideration for others must be of the utmost importance if we are to get along, and this sort of uncaring attitude must be controlled by the proper authorities or ugly reactions might take place eventually.
The residents of these towers pay prime rentals to live here and it is unacceptable that these non-residents should be allowed to come here at late hours and terrorize the residents with their provocative behavior. I do not share their passion for motorbikes and prefer to sleep at 12.30am. This is a residential zone and they need to be made to understand this simple concept.”
In response to the complaints, a UDC spokesman has reiterated that the Pearl’s streets are part of Qatar’s public road network, and that the developer has no power to issue tickets or ban drivers.
Speaking to Doha News, Roger Dagher said:
“The Pearl-Qatar is not a closed community but rather a bustling suburb of Doha.”
“Therefore, all the roads fall under the jurisdiction of the Qatar Traffic Department. As a result, The Pearl-Qatar faces the same challenges relating to the roads as the rest of Doha, and the Police force deals with this issue the way they deal violations on all Doha roads by stopping vehicles if they violate the Qatar Traffic Laws.”
However, UDC have announced a series of measures which they say they are “currently implementing” to try to improve the situation.
- Regular meetings and follow ups with the police;
- Bringing residents’ complaints to police attention as they receive them;
- Reaching an agreement to install three two-way speed cameras on the main Pearl Blvd. Road;
- Reaching an agreement to install red light traffic cameras at Medina Junction and at the junction between Porto Arabia Drive and Marina Way 20;
- Installing speed bumps on Porta Arabia Drive; and
- Continuing to monitor and take action in conjunction with the police concerning traffic issues on The Pearl.
UDC has also installed signs banning motorbikes from entering the area from 10pm-10am every night, but have told residents that it is the police’s responsibility to enforce this rule.
Some of the planned improvements echo the changes that Shirish Patel and other residents plan to push for in a new petition campaign.
Patel told Doha News that the noise problem has been particularly bad in the areas surrounding Towers 30 and 31 in Porto Arabia.
The architect added that the petition calls for UDC to go beyond the changes they have promised:
“The immediate solution is to reinstate security at the main gate ‐ the infrastructure is already in place such air conditioned cabins and barriers. Motor bikers would be not allowed access except for those who can show proof of residence – the UDC has the authority to issue such card/IDs. The UDC needs to realize that this problem arose when the security at the main gate was removed.”
Doha News also spoke to Pearl resident Larry Hughes, who argued that the motorbikes and cars are not only a nuisance, but a safety risk. He reported his concerns in an email to management earlier this year:
“As we were returning from an evening stroll, my wife was almost hit by one of the bikers.
As there is no sidewalk extending all the way to our tower, she stepped in to the driving lane just as one of the motor bikes began doing an extended wheelie down the long expanse of road.”
Hughes added that he recently spoke to the UDC’s Community Management Director to discuss “the growing anger” among residents. The conversation did little to improve his confidence in the measures listed above, he continued:
“He told me that the provisions of any and all safety measures rests solely with the MoI and the Police and is therefore out of his hands. The Police, to their credit, have been out patrolling but this has only had limited success.
I think most of us believe speed bumps and crosswalks are the only solutions to address the problem, which only UDC can implement.”
Despite the apparent strength of opinion among many residents, Dagher told Doha News that “the majority of residents’ feedback we receive is positive and we believe that most people enjoy living in The Pearl-Qatar,” adding that this is demonstrated by the shortage of available apartments on the island.
“Furthermore, we believe that as those cameras and speed bumps are installed, drivers will no longer be able to get away with violations. “