Friday, October 10, 2008


Published: October 10, 2008

Dubai Metro will reduce congestion, says Livingstone

By Derek Baldwin, Senior Reporter

Former London mayor who implemented congestion charges says that Dubai can’t build its new Dubai Metro system soon enough to alleviate major traffic chaos on city roads. 

At a press conference at Cityscape, the colourful Ken Livingstone said that the new Dubai Metro won’t only reduce street congestion; it will also help the city realise its goal of becoming a major financial player on the world stage. 

The two-term mayor, who was defeated earlier this year, said a $39-billion transport plan in the UK will help financial workers access downtown London’s hub increasing the city’s productivity. 

“Everyone is putting in underground railways,” Livingstone told reporters. “My advice would be to get everyone underground as soon as possible.” 

Building a new public metro, the first Red Line of which is set to open by September 9, 2009, will help Dubai prepare for a shift in economy from the West to Asia, one that could happen within 10 years earlier than originally predicted. 
One of the founding members of C-40 (a group of the top cities around the world), Livingstone urged Dubai to get involved in such organisations to expose the city to new and modern advancements in municipal planning. 

He noted that Dubai’s lack of regulatory planning measures that are highly common in cities in the West could actually help in some instances because it is allowing the city to grow at a rapid rate without an over abundance of red tape approvals. 

“I’d rather do it a little quicker with a little less participation,” Livingstone said. 
He also pointed out that successful cities need to provide affordable housing and green open spaces for a healthy and happy population. 

A huge housing backlog in London has created a dire need for at least 31,000 new homes to be built ever year for 10 or 20 years, he said. 

Soundly ousted by Boris Johnson in May 2008 elections, Livingstone said he will run again for the London mayor’s seat in 3.5 years. 

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