‘Get us across the street in­one­piece’

Pedes­tri­ans put spot­light on safety af­ter girl is killed cross­ing road in Shar­jah

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Nawal Al Ramahi @nawal_ramahi

Shar­jah res­i­dents have urged author­i­ties to pro­vide more pedes­trian cross­ings on some of the emi­rate’s ma­jor roads, be­fore any­one else is killed.

The call comes af­ter the death of eight-year-old Kaavya Futka­palli, who was knocked down and killed while cross­ing Al Is­tiqal Street with her mother last Thurs­day. Her father told 7DAYS the pair were part of a larger group try­ing to cross to Mega Mall when a car “came out of nowhere” and hit the girl.

Sankar Futka­palli said: “One hor­ri­ble sec­ond changed our lives.”

Now, peo­ple in Shar­jah say the in­ci­dent has put the spot­light back on pedes­trian safety in the emi­rate.

Ac­cord­ing to Shar­jah Po­lice, 33 peo­ple died in 239 run-over ac­ci­dents last year.

A 7DAYS count of the re­ported deaths so far for 2016 put the toll at 10.

Mar­i­anna Wadie, 36, an Egyp­tian phar­ma­cist, said: “One of my friends died while cross­ing the street in the Al Qas­mia area last week due to the lack of a cross­ing.”

Shar­jah Po­lice re­cently con­ducted a pedes­trian safety cam­paign and fined 390 jay­walk­ers. Jay­walk­ing is con­sid­ered an of­fence and vi­o­la­tors are slapped with a penalty of Dhs200.

Res­i­dents say the prob­lem has not got any bet­ter. Mar­i­anna Wadie said: “The re­cur­rent run-over ac­ci­dents in Shar­jah that claim lives of peo­ple de­mand im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion and fea­si­ble ac­tion. “Author­i­ties should fine pedes­tri­ans cross­ing from un­des­ig­nated ar­eas to re­duce fa­tal pedes­trian ac­ci­dents.” Mari­sail, 30, from the Philip­pines, works at Two Dirhams Cen­tre, on Al Is­tiqal Street. She told 7DAYS: “There are fre­quent fa­tal pedes­trian ac­ci­dents tak­ing place on Al Is­tiqal Street. I have seen two in the past six months. “The area is busy. There are thou­sands of peo­ple who cross Al Is­tiqal Street, I feel it is too dan­ger­ous to cross the street as it lacks walk­ways. “Pedes­trian bridges or tun­nels are the only so­lu­tion for this is­sue in ar­eas such as Ja­mal Ab­dunasser Street, Al Ma­jaz, Al Khan and Al Qasimia, and ar­eas near mosques, pub­lic parks, and restau­rants.” Some res­i­dents have also crit­i­cised the lack of cross­ings in Al Nahda “from Dubai to the Shar­jah part” to spare com­muters the pain of cross­ing the “hot sand” daily. Pedes­trian safety has been in the spot­light for many years. In July 2011, 7DAYS re­ported how res­i­dents asked for more cross­ings af­ter two Ethiopi­ans, Mi­nalu Man­daye and Ke­mer Mufema, were killed try­ing to cross Al It­ti­had Road at An­sar Mall. The Shar­jah Urban Plan­ning Coun­cil (SUPC) an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary that five pedes­trian bridges will be built, over King Faisal Road, King Ab­dul Aziz Street, Al It­ti­had Road and Al Taawun Road. Shar­jah Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the Urban Plan­ning Coun­cil de­clined to com­ment on the res­i­dents’ ap­peal for ac­tion.

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