Specifically, they are requesting that United Development Co. (UDC) create a pathway to link Porto Arabia with Qanat Quartier, which is currently separated by the six-lane Porto Arabia Drive.
Porto Arabia is home to most of the island’s shops, restaurants and attractions.
But the launch of the Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel near Qanat Quartier in January has increased the footfall between the two districts.
Meanwhile, the area around the hotel is a popular site for dog owners, who are not allowed to walk their pets on the boardwalks of Porto Arabia, some residents say.
While there is a pedestrian point with traffic lights near the Qatar Cool building, residents say this is in the wrong place to easily walk between the two neighborhoods, and the light does not stay long enough to allow someone to safely get across the road.
British expat Marie Hartigan, who lived in Viva Bahriya before moving to Qanat Quartier last month, said she set up the online petition after seeing many people struggle to cross the road with strollers, children and dogs.
An unofficial crossing connecting Qanat Quartier with Porto Arabia did previously exist, along the path by the canal near Tower 11, Hartigan added. However, this route was closed off earlier this week, prompting her to launch the petition.
Introducing the issue, the petition says: “Have you seen the young families trying to cross Porto Arabia Drive? Or the dog walkers running across? Or the mothers trying to lift their strollers over the barrier on the central reservation? I have, and it terrifies me.”
Hartigan has proposed that UDC connects an existing railed path in front of Tower 11 in Porto Arabia under two bridges with an identical railed pathway on the Qanat Quartier side to provide a pedestrian-friendly walkway.
She told Doha News that without a suitable crossing, many residents have been forced to get in their cars to visit friends:
“This defeats the point of the Pearl, which should be a great place to walk around.
There are also great facilities on Porto Arabia. If there was a safe way to get from Qanat Quartier, which currently doesn’t have any amenities, to the shops, restaurants and coffee shops on Porto Arabia, it would really improve their business,” she added.
In its first week, the petition has garnered more than 200 signatures.
One of its supporters, dog walker Kay Absolom, who lives in Porto Arabia, told Doha News: “Pearl residents would be ecstatic to have a safe crossing to avoid the road. It would help to knit together the areas.”
Many of those signing the petition have added comments and messages to UDC.
Jennifer Lappin said: “It is ridiculous that this hasn’t been integrated into the Pearl infrastructure. Please take action soon to prevent an accident and make crossing safe and accessible for pedestrians.”
Tracy Glenn said: “I don’t want to hit people that cross the highway because there’s no other way for them to get across.”
The residents said they plan to take the petition to UDC in the coming days for their consideration.
No one from UDC was available to comment to Doha News.
The Pearl-Qatar has been adding several facilities for residents and visitors in the past year, particularly in Medina Centrale, which is next to Porto Arabia.
An entertainment center Megapolis is set to open this month, as well as a number of new eateries and shops.
UDC has also said it plans to add a 2,000-square-meter indoor sporting facility dubbed “Gymito” as well as additional retail offerings “in due time.”
However, traffic remains an issue on the man-made island. Bottlenecks, particularly in rush hours, cause a headache for residents and visitors trying to access its sole access and exit point.
UDC has already ruled out building any new routes connecting the Pearl with the mainland.
Cars speeding along the island’s artery route continue to cause problems, notably at weekend evenings.
Following numerous complaints from tenants about road safety and noise pollution, last summer a 60kph speed limit and radars were installed at well-known trouble spots. Since then, the limit on the main road has been increased to 80kph .