Browsing 'al saad' News

Lesley Walker

Construction is coming to another busy Doha road this month, as Qatar Rail advances on plans to roll out a new Al Sadd St. metro station.

Shopkeepers and restauranteurs said they have received notices from the rail company that they will be closing different sections of Al Sadd over the next three years, starting Oct. 15.

Many have expressed dismay about the plans, saying the works would cost them a number of customers and millions of riyals in business.

Al sadd/saad - QR letter 2 new

The construction will mean the removal of the service road and parking adjacent to a section of shops and restaurants at the western end of Al Saad St., near the junction with Jawan Street.

While some work in the area is already underway and hoardings have already been erected near the road, the latest closures have yet to take effect.

Under the plans, the hoardings would be moved to stand just over one meter from the shop fronts, making it impossible for vehicles to park in the area, or even drive up to drop off customers. A short passage will remain for pedestrians to access the stores.

According to the details of the Qatar Rail letter, the program of construction for the station was due to begin on Oct. 10, with deep excavation works in the area scheduled to start on May 7, 2015.

Metro plans

Al Saad station will be one of 11 stations on Doha Metro’s Gold Line, which will run West-East from Villaggio mall, under Al Waab street, along Al Saad street and eventually through to the northern end of the former Doha airport’s runway.

Doha Metro Phase 1 - Gold Line

In April, a consortium led by Greek-based Aktor won a $4.4 billion contract for the line’s design and build, with a completion date set for August 2018.

Other lines that would cover the 37 stations open to passenger traffic by 2019 include Hamad International Airport, the Msheireb Downtown Doha project, Education City, West Bay and Lusail, where passengers can transfer to light-rail vehicles that will connect up to Al Khor.

Loss of business

Once one of the busiest commercial streets in the city, Al Sadd St. is home to many decades-old shops and eateries that are regarded by many residents as Doha institutions.

One of them is Al Khaima Arabic restaurant, which has been operating in the same location for nearly 30 years.

Lesley Walker

Speaking to Doha News yesterday, the general manager, who asked not to be named, said he feared for the future of the eatery:

“We are a very popular restaurant – we have nearly 1,100 customers a day, on average, and lots of regulars who have known us for years.

But when these works start, there will be no parking, nowhere for people even to be dropped off. It will be like a highway outside our door. How can our customers get to us – by parachute or helicopter, and land on the roof?”

The manager estimated that the upcoming diversions would cost him up to QR4 million a year in lost business, particularly from customers who used the take-away service.

When asked how he felt about the construction, he added:

“I am very sad, not only for my business or income but for my customers. I hope some will still come to us, although they will have to park very far away and walk. But some will not come back – they will go to other restaurants that are easier to get to.

We will have to adapt. Maybe we will do more deliveries, maybe we will try to open another branch, although that is very expensive.”

Further down the street, Al Khan Textile tailors has also been operating for nearly 30 years.

Speaking to Doha News about the upcoming diversions, Manager Abdul Rashid said:

“If this street really does get closed like they say, then this will be a big problem for us. How will my customers get to me?

“We have been here a long time – we are a famous shop in Doha and we have many VIP customers. They will not want to park and walk in the dust to reach here.”

Also yesterday, the owner of a menswear store who asked not to be named said he was conferring with shop keepers in the area to discuss a way forward that would enable the businesses in the street to keep operating.

“We are taking some steps. Maybe we can reach a compromise, although I am not totally hopeful,” he told Doha News.

C-Ring works

The latest planned works are yet another blow to businesses in the surrounding area, many of which are already struggling as Ashghal continues its overhaul of C-Ring Road.

Aric DiLalla

The public works authority has taken steps to mitigate the impact on businesses on the stretch of C-ring between Radisson Blu (Ramada) signal and Al Mana Towers by providing temporary parking and pedestrian walkways.

But business owners told Doha News that the construction on the busy road had put off many of their customers, with footfall down to just a couple of customers on a Thursday afternoon for one Arabic sweet shop by Al Mana Towers.

Thoughts?

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Local football club Al Rayyan beat Al Sadd 2-1 in the 2013 Emir of Qatar Cup final. But many fans were left standing outside Khalifa stadium – tickets in hand – when doors were locked more than an hour before the match started on Saturday night.

Here’s the latest:

UPDATE | Sunday, May 19, 2013, 11:22am

Journalist Ted Regencia shared this clip with us of Al Rayyan fans celebrating on the Corniche.

UPDATE | Saturday, May 18, 2013, 9:08pm

Al Rayyan beat Al Sadd 2-1.


As Al Sadd and Al Rayyan square off during the Emir Cup tonight, scores of disappointed ticket-holders are once again complaining of being locked out at the gates.

Some have been told by officials that Khalifa Stadium is full, and fans do indeed appear to be packed into the venue.

However, the more likely reason is security concerns, as the Emir and other VIPs are attending the match. The protocol when such officials attend events is to usher other attendees in early.

Problems were also reported at halftime, when people who went out of the stadium were not allowed back in unless they were in the VIP section, game attendee Gazanfarulla Khan told Doha News.

Turned away

Even though the game started at 7pm, the Ministry of Interior tweeted today that doors to the gates would open to the public around 3:45pm. It appears latecomers, even if they paid for tickets, were shut out.

The MOI also posted a series of tweets warning fans not to bring fireworks, wooden sticks, animals, horns and metal and glass containers into the stadium. Attendees were also reminded to stay in their seats and maintain decorum.

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This is not the first time sports fans have left a major event in Qatar disappointed. Earlier this year, ticket-holders at the Spain vs. Uruguay match complained about slow security checks impeding their ability to get into the game.

Others were reminded of the 2011 Asian Football Confederation Final, when a similar situation occurred.

For those who didn’t make it to the match or weren’t allowed in, the second half is getting underway, and can be watched live on Qatar TV.

Are you at the stadium? What’s your experience been like?

Credit: Top photo by Sam Shehab; second photo by Abdulla Al Darwish

Bloody brawl erupts between Qatar’s Al Sadd, S. Korea’s Bluewings