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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Qatar to boost pedestrian safety by installing hundreds of new crossings

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In a bid to improve the safety of pedestrians in Qatar, 267 new crossings, paths and overpasses are set to be built in the coming years, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) announced yesterday.

With Qatar’s booming population and an average of 8,000 new cars joining the roads each month, improving road safety for drivers and pedestrians is becoming a critical issue.

More specifically, a lack of crosswalks is one of the key challenges to road safety as previously highlighted in Qatar’s National Road Safety Strategy. The report notes:

“Roads do not always have facilities for pedestrians to help them use the roads safely. Due to the high levels of construction, pedestrians often find that the facilities they are using are interrupted by construction sites. Parallel parking is provided on some divided urban roads, meaning that pedestrians have to interact with relatively high speed traffic.”

Plans for pedestrian-friendly infrastructure also come on the heels of newly released data regarding the number of pedestrian deaths on Qatar’s roads.

According to officials quoted by the Qatar Tribune, some 101 people were killed in pedestrian-related traffic accidents from 2012 to 2013, while 300 were treated in the hospital for injuries related to road incidents.

Hospital officials have previously said that about 80 pedestrians in Qatar are killed and 200 injured each year in crashes.

Pedestrian safety

About a third of all Qatar’s road fatalities involve pedestrians, according to Sidique Dali, a representative of the MOI Traffic Department’s road engineering section, who spoke at a seminar about the issue yesterday.

The majority of those pedestrians killed are from South Asian countries, particularly Nepal and India, which had 15 and 8 such deaths respectively during 2013, Dali said.

One of the main issues continues to be poor roadside lighting, particularly in the Industrial Area, where nearly a fifth (19 percent) of these pedestrian deaths happened.

Some 60 percent of pedestrians are killed in evenings (after 6pm), which is why officials advise people out walking after dark to wear lighter-colored clothing to help them be seen.

Additionally, according to Qatar University’s Dr. Mohammed Kerbash, the majority of deaths occur when people try to cross roads at non-designated crossings.

However, there are very few official pedestrian crossings in Qatar and this, combined with a lack of pedestrian awareness among many drivers, is another key problem, he said.

New crossings

Dali said that the MoI was trying to tackle this issue by installing crossing points at more than 250 locations across Qatar.

This would include 18 one-way and 113 all-direction crossings, as well as a number of pedestrian bridges, some of which would be air-conditioned.

The construction of pedestrian overpasses has already been earmarked by public works authority Ashghal as one of a number of improvements it plans to make to Qatar’s roads in a QR600 million package of works to boost street safety.

In April this year, Ashghal issued a pre-qualification notice seeking contractors with the “right vision, and the necessary experience, capabilities, understanding and commitment” to submit bids to tender for work to build an unspecified number of brides and overpasses across Doha.

These flyovers should be of a design that “reflects the local area” and would be concentrated in areas where lots of people walk, including schools, shopping centers and public transport interchanges.

No timeline has yet been specified for the construction of the pedestrian walkways.

Injuries

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

Dr. Rafael Consunji, Director of Hamad Medical Corporation’s Injury Prevention Program, said that on average HMC receives 300 people a year who are the victims of pedestrian road accidents.

“What is sad is that with all the advanced equipment and trained staff, 71 percent of them die on the spot,” Consunji added.

One of the key factors behind this is the high speeds of many drivers in Qatar. At speeds of 76 km/h, there is a 90 percent chance of a driver killing a pedestrian he hits, Consunji is quoted as saying in the Peninsula.

Earlier this year, the MoI published a number of tips to try to improve the safety of pedestrians when out and about on the streets.

The advice included to avoid walking too close to roads and not to run across intersections.

Road safety

There are also a number of road safety campaigns ongoing in Qatar targeted at motorists, including urging people not to use their mobile phone while driving, and trying to stop the dangerous but frequent practice of tailgating.

Thoughts?

15 COMMENTS

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sicti
sicti
6 years ago

With energy so cheap here, in Qatar, Doha should be “City of Lights”. Unfortunately there are still areas where you can barely see at night.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

People walk in Qatar outside of malls? What will happen to the honk honk service?

All jokes aside, more footpaths and pedestrian crossings are absolutely necessary and a great step forward in the right direction.

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago

Cool, but I was thinking:

1- How to force pedestrians to use the pedestrian lines or bridges for their safety?

2- How to stop drivers from crossing read lights and killing pedestrians?

I think we need more miracles !

KJD
KJD
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

Reply to 1: Fences that prevent them from crossing anywhere but at the opening where the crossing is.

Oh wait, nevermind — you’d still end up with people who would climb over the fence to cross in the middle of the road because a) it’s either more convenient for them or b) they grew up playing frogger and think it’s great fun to live out the video game existence of the frog crossing the road.

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  KJD

True, but did you notice the look on their faces while calmly walking across the street and staring at you, as if their stare can defy physics laws and stop your vehicle instantly?
Thumbs up for that frog crossing…reminds me the old days ( atari in 80s )

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

congratulations! 100% behind this initiative, but these would have to be camera policed – like red light junctions – would you trust a land cruiser to stop, just because there is a bit of striped tarmac ? Like so many things, improving road safety in Qatar needs a cultural shift in attitudes to the respect of other road users of all kinds !

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Pedestrian overpasses are actually a great idea to ensure safe crossing and without disrupting traffic or having to rely on drivers slowing down and stopping at crossings

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

nobody likes them in europe, so why would they work here ? They are fine if it a motorway you need to cross, but not a street, so if its an urban environment, disrupting traffic speeds with policed crossings would be good not bad surely ?

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

If a road is fast & long enough I suppose it would warrant an overpass, obviously not if it’s a small urban road. I’m not saying this will solve everything, but many roads would qualify for this as a potential solution. Take wholesale market road as an example, speed limit is 100km/hr and it has almost no crossings, so most people run across when there aren’t too many cars, no other option. And I wasn’t thinking so much about people liking them but rather saving lives. If a pedestrian chooses not to use it and gets run over, well then…

Aussie expat
Aussie expat
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Let’s hope they are ‘wheel’ friendly and not just stairs.

Aussiegirl
Aussiegirl
6 years ago

Near where I live there is a section of road that has a very wide footpath and is on a relatively slow road (60km/hr I think). Today while walking there I was surprised to see where a car has obviously veered off the road and smashed into a villa wall. You’re not safe even if you don’t walk too close to the road. As for pedestrian crossing which just have white lines painted on the road, they are a complete joke. Overpasses sound like a good way to go.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Subway

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Did you hear the one about the proposed cable-car road-crossing near the Souq with a station at each 4 corners of the intersection? They even got an expert across from Austria to advise them and produced a feasibility to prove that it was the most hair-brained scheme ever thought of

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago

I think pedestrian crossings are a great idea but there must also be strict enforcement towards vehicle operators who ignore the rights of a pedestrian at such crossings.

disqus_CpJJvzDxuG
disqus_CpJJvzDxuG
6 years ago

Dear MoI and Ashgal,
Can we please get shaded walkways? Airconditioned paths are a luxury and would be appreciated for sure, but I doubt you can install those everywhere. Simple shading can work wonders. Please and thank you.

I have just come from vacation in the Philippines where I saw nice examples of pedestrian networks in Makati — sidewalks, crosswalks, over and under passes with lights and security and ventilation and street signs/directions — but the single greatest thing imo was having all types of shade (natural & manmade). It mobilizes a large number of people even in hot weather. One reason people here run across the street instead of going to the crosswalk is because they’re in such a hurry to get away from the searing sunlight. Look at Rayyan Road before Sports Roundabout — every time I drive there I pray not to kill some poor soul who is trying to get from Lulu Center to Hamad Hospital (or vice versa). There is a crosswalk about 200 meters away, but they don’t want to go there. It’s too far when the sun is beating down on you

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