‘Get us across the street inonepiece’
Pedestrians put spotlight on safety after girl is killed crossing road in Sharjah
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.