Tuesday, June 13, 2006


For the uninitiated, TECOM is the Free Zone Authority that manages Internet City, Media City and Knowledge Hamlet. These cities and the hamlet are all on the same very large campus which has now been split into several islands by the new roads that have been built. One cluster of buildings in particular is extremely hard to get to - the home of Cisco, Microsoft, HP and Oracle to name but a few. I had occasion to visit one of these buildings a few days ago, and I am pleased to present the Nice And Accurate Directions Of How Not To Do It.

1) Coming up Sheikh Zayed Road (from Abu Dhabi/Jebel Ali), ignore the half-concealed-by-tarpaulin signs and take the New Pink Underpass. This takes you under SZR.

2) On emerging from the New Pink Underpass, ignore the little unsignposted country lane on your right and continue for another kilometer.

3) This brings you to a roundabout in Knowledge Hamlet, and you go all the way round and head back the way you came from.

4) There are no u-turns whatsoever until you are at the end of Media City Phase 2. Here you will find a roundabout beside the Radisson Hotel, and you can go all the way round and head back the way you came from.

5) As you approach the New Pink Underpass once again you recall that you tried this before and it did not work. So at the last minute you follow the fork to the right.

6) As you glide inexorably over the beautiful new bridge across the SZR, you realise that you have screwed up bigtime, and it is likely that you will have to go as far as the Maul of the Emirates before you can turn around.

7) But no! You are wrong, after only three or four kilometers you can take a new bridge back over the SZR.

8) You come to a set of traffic lights, and a left turn puts you on a road that you have never seen before. You have the option of doing as I did, and wandering up and down little roads that ultimately lead nowhere. Or follow the signs for Knowledge Hamlet.

9) You crawl through Knowledge Hamlet, sedately bouncing over the numerous speed-bumps, and eventually you arrive back at the roundabout that you were at about ten minutes ago.

10) Turn left here. There are no u-turns whatsoever until you are at the end of Media City Phase 2. Here you will find a roundabout beside the Radisson Hotel, and you can go all the way round and head back the way you came from.

11) As you approach the New Pink Underpass once again you recall that you tried this before and boy did you mess up.

12) Plunge headlong into the underpass.

13) On emerging from the New Pink Underpass, do not ignore the little unsignposted country lane on your right. This is your destination. You have arrived.

14) Almost: now find somewhere to park the damned car.


Blogger trailingspouse said...

Did you ever play Snakes & Ladders as a kid? Sounds pretty similar to me!

10:17 pm  
Blogger nzm said...

ha ha.

we've played this roundabout roulette on many occasions while trying to access that DIC office block. Trouble is that the accessway keeps changing.

a few weeks ago, you had to go through the underpass, straight through the KV roundabout and then hook a right U-turn into a roadway that took you back up the way you had just come and into the full carpark where frustration knows no end when trying to find a space! It's also challenging for the workers in that area who have to find new ways to work every week!

11:33 pm  
Blogger Dubai Sunshine said...

LOL....too funny :) But you're right, there's some serious signage issues in that area!

1:32 am  
Blogger secretdubai said...

"Knowledge Hamlet"!!

I've always loved the fact that while they could manage a "city" for media and internet, they could only manage a "village" for knowledge.

Nothing could say it better...

10:23 am  
Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

Direction signage is always an issue, and not only in Dubai. International standards recommend a maximum of two place names per destination, otherwise the sign becomes pretty much unusable. Bilingual signs make the layout even more congested.

A driver has a couple of seconds to find his destination on the sign, understand the instruction and get into the correct lane.

Several perfect examples of How Not To Do It are suspended on gantries over the bewilderingly complicated weaving section just east of Trade Centre underpass near that new pedestrian bridge. There is so much info on the sign, yet drivers have to concentrate on the Brownian motion of all the other cars.

Elsewhere, as Keefieboy has noted, there are no direction signs at all. Presumably everyone on the roads is local and has an innate knowledge of which turn to take. An excellent example of this version of How No To Do It is on the ramp up to the Maul[sic] of the Emirates. It's obvious that the road splits in two; after negotiating the 40kph substandard bend it becomes obvious that the left lane leads around the front of the building. Only the right-hand lanes lead into the car park. And the sign advertising this fact? It's not on the approach to the bend where a driver could select the correct lane in advance. That would be too easy.

But my own favourite Love To Hate feature is to get into the correct lane as indicated by the arrow on an overhead gantry, only to discover a couple of hundred metres later that this bears little resemblance to the road markings or the junction layout

11:33 am  
Blogger Harsha said...

lol, seriously its not that bad.

maybe cuz i went there every evening.

my dad has to go there almost once every week - and has to call me for directions EVERY SINGLE TIME

2:50 pm  
Blogger Seabee said...

Grumpy, I've ranted about that before, the fact that the roads themselves and the signage are responsible for a fair percentage of what appears to be bad driving. Bad signs badly placed, no signs at all, misleading signs - like telling you to turn right when they mean third right - signs intended only for people who know their way anyway. And roads that give you fifty metres to get across several lanes from where you've entered to where you have to exit.

I love all the new tunnels and flyovers around the Village - it's like a mystery tour, you never quite know where you're going to end up. I even found a way back to the Marina avoiding Al Sufouh Road that was blocked - again - by an accident the other morning.

6:04 pm  
Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

Interchange design in Dubai is generally atrocious. The Dubai highway design manual is detailed and pretty comprehensive. It's based largely on United States design codes, and the Americans ought to know a thing or two about highways. The remaining bits of the Dubai manual are borrowed from the UK, somewhere else where there is a proven track record of road construction.

Unfortunately, when someone important wants a new interchange inserted between two existing junctions, all parts of the design manual that say, "You can't put one of those here. Your new exit is too close to the existing junctions" are completely ignored.

Result? It's nigh on impossible to drive down SZR without encountering an on-slip, off-slip, lane drop or lane gain every 200 metres or less. Just what we all need to prevent smooth traffic flow.

Incidentally, there will apparently be a new interchange with thirteen bridges replacing the existing roundabout on the Emirates Road at Arabian Ranches. Yet more opportunities to get completely lost and confused. Someone somewhere must be made of money.

1:49 pm  
Anonymous Ian-the-Dog said...

Oh, how we are all looking forward to 2 years of construction at Arabian Ranches Roundabout! OK, it's got to be done because it's a disaster at present, but the next 24 months will be hell.

And the design is bizarre, why not just make a strightforward cloverleaf intersection? Anyway, it won't matter how high they make the bund around A.R., because the drivers on the top level bridge will be able to gaze down into the bedroom windows of the Saheel residents. Oh joy!

11:28 am  
Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

why not just make it a straightforward cloverleaf...?

Possibly because De Gobmint likes to see a total rat's nest when viewing this fair country with Google earth. I cite my examples:

1. The new plate of spaghetti currently under construction on SZR next to Hard Rock.
2. TECOM (q.v.)
3. Ongoing confusions between TCR and Za'abeel.
4. Interchange 2. (25d10'50"N, 55d15'E)

This last one is very strange. A grade-separated crossroads shouldn't need seven bridges, some on strange and complicated horizontal and vertical alignments, substandard merges and diverges, dangerously substandard bends and (horror) switchbacks and adverse cambers. Sure it carries the traffic, but the cost must have been astronomical.

(Ian-the-Dog: As in Custodian of the Sacred Mascot?)

8:34 am  

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