Car Park – Basic Description
Qatar, also popularly known as the educational hub, has a number of parking spaces, the busiest being the ABP front car Park. The reason I chose to describe this car park located in front of the Academic Bridge Program is that I have always seen this car park busy and bustling with activity and it is very difficult to find space to park my car here. Reaching the car park requires one to enter from the designated gate 3 from where one has to take the first roundabout from the left and then going straight to take the second roundabout after which one finds the car park area located to the right side of the road.
The parking area is paved with asphalt and is small with parking space for barely 130 vehicles. The location of the car park is in front of the ABP building and exactly behind the VCUQ building. Students park their cars and vehicles here and the car park is rectangular shaped with less area than that of the buildings. The parking area is marked with white paint to demarcate each parking area for cars while the yellow paint with semi-circular sides, indicates the prohibited area where to be left vacant with driving lines for cars to easily move in and out of the car park without any obstruction and hindrance.
There are two rows of parking for cars to be parked front to front and driving space between the rows. To the sides of the parking space, there are perpendicular driving lanes that connect to the main driving area. The entry-exit arrangements are not well organized and make it dangerous for cars traveling in and out of the parking space. The lack of signboards to indicate directions makes it even more difficult to gauge the precise locations. The area is not well demarcated with signboards, making it difficult for commuters to enter from and exit to their desired locations.
The information signboards in the car parking area are few. All over the parking space, one can see speed limit signs. However, there are no traffic signals to guide the traffic or trash signs anywhere. Student interviews indicate that there should be more informational signs to mark the area. To the side of the parking area, one finds rows of trees planted to add some greenery to the area. Interviews also indicate that there should be more greenery around the area.
The number of cars parked over a period of three working days was recorded starting from Saturday to Wednesday for parking activity four times a day on various times, between 7.00 – 8.00 am, 1.00 – 1.15 pm, 2.30 – 3.00 pm and 5.15 – 5.45 pm. Between 7.00 – 7.30 am the car park is empty and begins to get more crowded as university students drive to look for the nearest spot to park their cars either near the VCUQ or the ABP. Most of the students are males with few females. Till 8.00 am, students gather in the car park and use it to get together and socialize discussing their first class over a cup of coffee till they have to go for their first class. Interview with a student, Ahmed Ali (Interview) indicates that finding a place for the car park is extremely difficult between 8 and 11 am when the car park is filled to capacity and it takes about 15 minutes an average to find a vacant spot to park one’s car.
At about 7.30 am some students are also seen driving and parking in the prohibited area marked with yellow for fear of being late for their class and to reach there as soon as possible. Between 1.00 and 1.15 pm, drivers of cars are seen driving around to look for parking space to park their cars when another car vacates a car park. At this time there is little student activity in the car park as most of the students are in class. At about 2.30 pm cars begin to exit and newer cars begin to take their place until about 5.15 when the car park area begins to get vacated until about 5.45 pm when one hardly finds any cars in the parking area. The biggest disadvantage of this car park is the unavailability of handicapped parking for which arrangements should have been made. However, there is the availability of bus shuffle services.
As is apparent from the interview, students regularly use the car park for a period of over 4 hours, till the time they attend class. There are some issues related to the shortage of space and the entry-exit arrangements for people using the car park. There are few signboards and there are no special parking spaces or facilities for the disabled. Although there are signboards related to speed limits the lack of signboards to indicate other instructions such as directions make driving around the place difficult for new commuters. The lighting, surfacing, and landscaping have been given enough importance and other crucial areas like ease of access through directions and signboards would improve the parking area and make it more comfortable for its users.