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Posted On: 14 September 2013 05:48 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:13 pm

Lack of direction signs poses challenge to West Bay visitors

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Residents travelling to the West Bay area, which houses numerous diplomatic missions and offices of several other international and regional agencies, continue to have a tough time locating their destinations owing to inadequate direction boards or the “improper” way in which the streets are numbered. “Even though I have been visiting the area for many years now as part of my official assignments, every time I find it difficult to locate the embassies, ambassadors’ residences or other offices as there is absolutely no continuity in the numbering of the streets in the area,” said an Arab journalist who has completed more than two decades in Qatar. Echoing similar sentiments, a South American country’s ambassador said that the other day many other diplomats known to him found it difficult to locate other embassies though some of them have been residing in the area for at least last two years. Terming the present type of numbering system in the area as of “little use” to the visitors, the diplomat said even though he had served in much larger diplomatic zones in some European and American countries he had never faced issues in locating embassies within an area. While speaking about the necessity of installing something useful to the visitors, a diplomat said Qatar could either emulate diplomatic zone models from other countries, including the United States or elsewhere within the region where locating embassies is somewhat easy for visitors. A frequent traveller to the area felt if the flags atop some of the diplomatic missions are hoisted at a higher elevation than what they are now, visitors could see it from a distance and reach there without much of a problem. “Also, it would help one if he carries a chart featuring pictures of national flags of all countries whenever he travels to the area,” he said. However, inquiries made with some of the visitors at an embassy found even those carrying such flag charts are facing issues in locating their destinations as there are no proper direction boards in the area’s roads. While recommending installation of the boards with images of flags of countries, for example at 100m intervals, along the route to their embassies, a resident said such experiments have proved to be a success in different parts of the world, including in the region. Though drivers of one of the three taxi companies in Qatar are reportedly issued flag charts by their employers and the move is said to be somewhat successful, the idea is still to get enough attention among the residents. “The other day when I sought the help of a policeman on guard duty at an embassy in the West Bay area, he could easily direct me to the embassy where I wanted to take my customer as he could spot its location, thanks to the flag chart that I was carrying,” said a taxi driver. Even though some embassies send out Google route map to visitors, it is not much of any use to most people, it is found. “The other day an embassy sent a similar route map on a request but I took more than 30 minutes to locate the place even after coming very close to the building. The delay was because of improper numbering of the streets in the locality,” said a resident. The person ultimately managed to locate the building as he saw the country’s national flag atop the building from a distance.