Abu Dhabi corniche beach opening
Sheikh Mansoor, left, and Sheikh Hamed take a tour of the new Abu Dhabi corniche beach in a golf buggy after cutting the world's longest inaugural ribbon to officially open the beach.
Photos courtesy: Stephen Lock / The National
Abu Dhabi public beach opens
Zoi Constantine for THE NATIONAL
Last Updated: July 02. 2008 11:10PM UAE / GMT
ABU DHABI // More than 150 additional parking spaces and two new pedestrian overpasses are planned to cope with the anticipated influx of people to Abu Dhabi’s public beach, which officially opened last night.
“The inauguration of the Abu Dhabi Corniche Beach is part of the capital’s strategic plan to develop its seafront and equip it with modern infrastructure and services it can be proud of,” said Jumaa al Junaibi, the general manager of the municipality, at the launch.
The beach, which cost Dh105 million (US$28.5m) to develop, is free to the public, with facilities including a mosque, changing rooms, shaded snack kiosks and restaurants, and 12 hectares of parks, playgrounds and promenades. Four beach volleyball courts are set among 555 palm trees and there will be a permanent police post.
“I invite all to behave [in a way] that respects the culture and traditions of the UAE society and to be involved in the municipality’s effort to keep the beach the beautiful, clean and harmonious place it has been designed to be,” said Mr Junaibi.
Hundreds of people turned up for the opening ceremony at the beach, which had been decked in flags and balloons.
The cutting of the 5km ribbon was marked with a fireworks display over the water. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, attended the official opening, which was originally scheduled for Monday but delayed. However, while the opening of the 2km beach, which can accommodate 5,000 beachgoers, has been eagerly anticipated, there is some concern that the already congested Corniche area will not be able to handle the additional parking demands.
“I think parking will be big problem,” said Nabil Khouri, an engineer from Lebanon, who is a member of a private beach club near the new beach.
“I might go if the facilities are adequate, but the location just along the road is not appropriate.”
However, Gena Hardesty, who lives along the Corniche, said beachgoers should not be discouraged. “If you drive around the back streets not far from the beach there are parking spaces, so I don’t think it will be much of a problem,” she said.
There are 780 public parking spaces on the opposite side of the Corniche Road available to beachgoers, according to the municipality.
An additional 172 spaces were also planned, along with two pedestrian overpass bridges linking the area to the beach.
“The plans are subject to final approval, but we are trying to provide the public with a way to safely park and cross [the road to the beach],” said Atef Garib, a traffic and transport expert at the municipality.
There are already two pedestrian crossings along the Corniche Road and one underpass, he added. Work is also expected to begin soon to increase the size of the taxi lay-bys along the beach.
There will be 15 lifeguards to monitor the beach and patrol the water on jet skis. Swimming is expected to be prohibited after 8pm during the summer months.