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Friday, August 6, 2021

Pearl-Qatar to tackle reckless driving with new police station

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In response to long-standing complaints about racing cars and motorbikes at the Pearl-Qatar, the island’s master developer has installed a police station that is expected to open next week, a spokesperson said.

The new facility will be locating in Medina Centrale. It will have three officers who work full-time and two patrols stationed at traffic “black spots” on the Pearl.

The station also has offices for senior members of the Ministry of Interior’s traffic department, including its Director-General Brig. Mohamed Saad Al Kharji and Brig. Mohamed al-Malki, General Secretary of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, a spokesperson for United Development Company (UDC) told Doha News.

Residents have complained for years of excessive noise and dangerous conditions for pedestrians when roads on the island are used as a playground for people “joyriding” during nights and weekends.

Despite the introduction of speed limits on the Pearl Boulevard, and the introduction of patrols by the Pearl’s security service, The Shield, problems have persisted, residents said.

Pearl Qatar melee
Pearl Qatar melee

For example, a road rage video showing SUVs ramming each other and bringing traffic to a standstill on the island went viral late last year.

UDC’s spokesman Hussain Al Baker said that the police station has been set up to try to properly tackle the issue.

“We hope this will improve safety and reduce all the noise problems on the Pearl,” Al Baker said.

No vehicles

UDC has also announced that, starting today, Medina Centrale will be a pedestrian-only zone during weekends as a way to attract more families to shop and dine in the district.

On Instagram, it said that vehicles will be banned from 2pm on Thursdays until 2am on Sundays at the developing “town center” district, which houses Novo Cinemas, Spinneys supermarket and several restaurants and shops.

تعلن الشركة المتحدة للتنمية عن بدء تنفيذ أولى مراحل تحويل “مدينا سنترال” إلى منطقة صديقة للمشاة تقتصر فقط على حركة سير المشاة، بإستثناء سيارات التوصيل ومركبات المسؤولين فقط. وسيكون قرار الإغلاق ساري المفعول عند نهاية كل أسبوع من يوم الخميس، من الساعة 2:00 ظهراً وحتى 2:00 صباحاً من يوم الأحد. United Development Company (UDC) has implemented a decision by senior management to turn Medina Centrale, dubbed the island’s Town Centre, into a pedestrian-friendly district thereby restricting access to delivery and official vehicles only. The closure will be in effect every weekend from 2:00pm Thursday until 2:00am Sunday morning. #thepearlqatar #doha #qatar

A photo posted by The Pearl-Qatar (@thepearlqatar) on


Only delivery and official vehicles will be allowed access during this time, the post said. Visitors can instead park at the parking garages near Spinney’s and Novo Cinemas and walk to their destinations.

“This is effective immediately and will happen on every weekend,” Al Baker told Doha News, adding that the decision was made as a way to encourage more families to visit the district and to deter joy riders who “drive without paying attention.”

Wooing tenants

The launch of the pedestrian zone coincides with the opening of 240 of a total of 538 apartments for lease in Medina Centrale.

The first wave of residential property released for rental on the site includes studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments and two and three-bedroom duplexes, UDC announced this week.

Keen to attract new tenants, the apartments are advertised as starting from QR8,500 a month with offers including two months’ free.

The offer comes following reports from a local real estate firm late last year that said recent job cuts particularly in the energy sector meant that landlords would be struggling to fill vacant units in upmarket residential areas like The Pearl and in West Bay.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

While rents have not gone down as a result, “free month” deals to attract new tenants have become more commonplace, DTZ said.

Vacancy rates reached 10 percent in the Pearl among units approved for occupancy, but DTZ’s Johnny Archer said he did not expect this to last long.

“While there have been (layoffs), the population is still growing and we expect to see occupancy keep growing,” Archer told reporters at the launch of DTZ’s quarterly report in October last year.

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