Wednesday, March 13, 2013
More Traffic Woes
This week I attended the recent MultaQa conference at the Ritz-Carlton. This meant that for the first time in, probably years, I was heading out to that area on a weekday morning and returning in the early afternoon to the office.
I could not believe the amount of traffic on Arch Roundabout! Each day I was stuck at that roundabout for 15 minutes, both going to the Ritz and coming back. Man, have I been out of touch, a few years ago that roundabout was easy to get through and didn't have much traffic. Now I'd say it's almost as bad as the infamous Sports Roundabout (which I consider the worst roundabout in Qatar). I spoke to a colleague who lives nearby and he confirmed that the heavy gridlock at key times is pretty much standard now for Arch Roundabout.
Coincidentally at the conference there was a presentation on the new Lusail City project. When finished it will house something like 200,000 people and have tons of office towers etc. the video promoted how you'd be able to both live and work there, and there would be wide streets which would ensure good traffic flow. Call me a bit cynical but I don't think the intention is that the low or middle workers will be living in Lusail, the luxury amenities available in the new project will surely be priced out of their range, leaving the bulk of the workers commuting in from the older parts of Doha. Which will of course mean tens of thousands of workers driving through Arch Roundabout! Already some buildings on Lusail are completed and this is already adding to the traffic woes from the people going to and from the Pearl.
In truth it is unfair of me to predict tens of thousands going through Arch Roundabout. There is already a lot of construction going on to improve the road, and I'm assuming within the next 2 to 3 years Arch Roundabout will be replaced by an intersection or cloverleaf, and the Metro will go to Lusail once it is finished sometime around 2019 or 2020. But in the meantime the traffic is just going to get worse. Backups of 20-25 minutes seem likely in the next couple of years before there is a solution.