It’s 7.30am and the traffic gridlock on Al Wasl Road stretches from the Union Co-op traffic light, all the way down to the Emirates NBD junction.
Horns blare, a few windows are rolled down in anger and frustration mounts, as commuters face the brunt of mounting traffic jams that are stretching from the traditional Sheikh Zayed Road onto the inner arteries that once promised free flowing traffic.
A similar scene awaits on the parallel Jumeirah Beach Road, with the only respite being offered with a three-lane stretch making the gridlock a little more manageable to weave through.
However, for several Bur Dubai and Karama residents, the past two weeks have stretched taut along with their temper.
Speaking with Emirates 24|7, Aditi Sipra, a Bur Dubai resident vented her frustration, saying: “I am being forced to leave home an hour earlier these days, because the traffic situation has worsened to the point that sleep less or lose my job with daily delays.”
Sipra, who works in Dubai Media City, stated: “There was a time I drove down Sheikh Zayed Road to work, but the mounting traffic and the road rage forced me to opt for Beach Road instead.
“That comfort lasted all of one summer, with the past two weeks causing hour long delays and snarls that stretch all the way down the Union House Roundabout.
“To reach work by 9am, I know leave home at 7.15am. If I delay even by 15 minutes, I am forced to wait an hour in traffic.”
Al Wasl Road bears the worst of the brunt, with Karama resident Madhav Kishore saying: “I work close to Al Safa Park, and Al Wasl Road is an easy enough drive to work without the chaos at Sana Junction. Not anymore, though.”
Kishore added: “This week was a record wait of 20 minutes just to reach the turn off from Al Wasl Road to Safa Park, which is a 20 second stretch from the Eppco traffic light. This is insanity.”
Anthony K, who lives in Al Mankhool area, stated: “The traffic snarls have returned to the pre-recession gridlock that plagued Dubai streets back in 2008.”
Are schools to blame?
Several residents are blaming the reopening of schools as the main cause behind the surge in traffic congestions.
Iranian national, Sara Fallah, who resides in Golden Sands residential area in Bur Dubai, stated: “I need an additional 15 minutes in the morning now when driving out of my parking because the area is overridden with school buses picking up children between 6.45am and 7.15am.
“Once I turn onto Kuwait Street, the gridlock snakes all the way to Sheikh Zayed Road. There is no escape even if you try.”
Some irate commuters are naming several schools within the city limits as the main culprits.
Alex Parks, who lives in Jafiliya said: “We have several schools and nurseries in the Jumeirah and Sheikh Zayed Road areas. Is it any wonder that traffic jams are mounting because of this?
“Maybe if the school timings were staggered a tad, it would bring some relief to the rest of us.
“Or a more communities such as Academic City or Knowledge Village could be a long term plan, where majority of the educational institutes could be situated, providing the city limits some leeway.”
Popular schools such as Kings Dubai, Gems Wellington Primary and Secondary Schools, English College and Emirates International School are just a few that are located in the neighbourhood.
However, some parents aren’t too thrilled with the alternatives at hand.
“I drop off my child en route to work; a later time schedule would be unacceptable,” said Aftab Khan. “Plus, currently, my child is woken up at 5.30am to have her out the door by 7am.
“If the school timings are moved up, I should simply do away with her sleeping at all.”