Head to Head: New Tramway or extended canal?


Nigel Craddock, regional director of Stride Treglown goes head to head with Pierre Martin Dufresne, partner, U+A architects

What will be best for Dubai – the tram or the canal extension?

Nigel Craddock answers, there are so many levels on which that question could be answered – for the economy? For tourism, lifestyle, experience for residents and tourists? For the environment? It’ll be a welcome relief to see the tram works complete, so I’d say in the short term the completed tram is going to be best.

Pierre Martin Dufresne answers, the canal even though there has been a lot of criticism about the traffic diversion. There is so much potential for development along the waterway itself and the plans are very ambitious. The tram is a worthwhile project in a different way – it will benefit residents.

Both will cause or are causing traffic chaos – is the inconvenience worth it? Nigel Craddock answers, we were always saying, ‘It’ll be great when it’s finished’, and increasingly we’re saying ‘stop messing around with it!’ There’s no question the canal project will disrupt a huge land area, and people are very keen to see how traffic is going to managed along Dubai’s main artery SZR.

Pierre Martin Dufresne answers, it is quite common for people to not stay in Dubai for more than five years and so they sometimes do not see the end of projects, just the inconvenience. But in terms of creating more opportunities for tourism and access to venues it is absolutely worthwhile.

What major public project would you like to see next? Nigel Craddock answers, high speed GCC rail network connecting back to a UAE wide rail system, the Dubai metro, then the tram. We have great connectivity by air and road, we now need rail. It will complete the entire network and integrated system across the region.

Pierre Martin Dufresne answers, I would like to see a major masterplan which integrates walkways and streets and makes the city a lot more people friendly. Development on a human scale is needed. Dubai at the moment is like a quilt with patchworks of development.

What are your overall thoughts on the projects? Nigel Craddock answers, Dubai needs to continue offering increased choice and connectivity in the public transport sector and the tram will deliver another level of that for residents and tourists in the Marina district.

Pierre Martin Dufresne answers, the tram will be good for residents although I believe the canal is a lot stronger. The tram will mean much less congestion around the Marina area which has to be a good thing. That will bring in the tourists.

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