Two pedestrian-friendly pathways will soon be installed at the Pearl-Qatar, linking up three of the island’s key communities by summer this year, developer and management company United Development Co. (UDC) has confirmed to Doha News.
The news follows the recent launch of an online petition by some Pearl residents, asking UDC to help facilitate safe passage for pedestrians walking between Qanat Quartier and Porto Arabia, which is divided by the six-lane Porto Arabia Drive.
In a statement to Doha News today, UDC said it plans to develop an open path under the bridge between Qanat Quartier and Porto Arabia, as well as a “pedestrian connection” from Medina Centrale near the cinema, to Porto Arabia.
Roger Dagher, corporate communications director, said:
“Both pedestrian routes will allow pedestrians to move freely and safely between the major districts of Porto Arabia, Qanat Quartier and Medina Centrale. The designs of both connections are ready and UDC is now in the process of tendering the works, with the aim of awarding contracts soon so that construction of both projects can start.
Completion of both connections is expected in summer 2015.”
The new routes are part of existing plans “aimed at strengthening and enhancing pedestrian connectivity between precincts (on the Pearl),” Dagher added.
This is an apparent change from original plans for the island, which was to create separate communities which would be “self-sufficient and independent,” and were to be connected “through major road and freeways that would allow cars to move smoothly between one precinct and another,” he said.
Qanat Quartier resident Marie Hartigan said she had seen many people struggle to cross Porto Arabia Drive with strollers, children and dogs, as they tried to walk between communities.
Residents had previously been using an unofficial pathway along the canal near Tower 11 to walk between Qanat Quartier and Porto Arabia. However, this was closed off last week, prompting Hartigan to launch the petition.
She previously told Doha News that she believed the creation of a pedestrian link between the communities would boost business for the shops, cafes and restaurants on Porto Arabia, as well as for the newly-opened Marsa Malaz Kempinksi near Qanat Quartier.
Commenting on UDC’s latest statement, she said:
“This is wonderful news – for the residents of The Pearl-Qatar, all the visitors to the island and the people who work here.
UDC are clearly concerned about and aware of the need for increased pedestrian safety, and their imminent actions are to be welcomed… I hope that the changes can be implemented as quickly as possible. I look forward to walking safely with my family to my favorite restaurants very soon.”
Most of the island’s shops, cafes and other attractions are currently centered in Porto Arabia, although Medina Centrale is being developed as a leisure center, and currently hosts the main supermarket on the island as well as the only cinema.
An entertainment complex is also set to open there this month.
While there are no amenities on Qanat Quartier at the moment, the nearby Marsa Malaz Kempinksi hotel, which opened at the beginning of the year, has attracted more footfall between the communities.