DUBAI // The first section of a seafront boardwalk that will eventually span 11 kilometres around the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah is set to open to the public in May.
Built around the outer edge of the man-made island, the first two kilometres of boardwalk will open next to the Rixos Hotel at the far end of the East Crescent.
The waterside walkway, which once completed will feature 30 kiosks, according to developer Nakheel, was welcomed by families and businesses on the island.
“For families wanting to enjoy a walk by the sea and the wildlife around the Palm, like the turtles and dolphins, it’s really nice to have this,” said Jean-Francois Laurent, general manager of the Anantara resort.
“There is a captive audience on the Palm, so if you can avoid taking the car to the city, it’s really helpful. We’re seeing the end of some developments now, which is a good thing.”
Until recently, places to walk and exercise on the island were limited, with access to beaches restricted to residents of apartment buildings and landscaped areas in the Fronds accessible only to those who live in the beachfront villas.
Al Ittihad park, which runs under the monorail line, was the only place where the 30,000 or more people who live on the Palm could take their children or work out.
It is hoped the boardwalk will become an attraction on par with The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Hassan Jaber has lived on the Palm for two years and said it was about time there was more to do.
“Honestly, I feel it’s time to really have more options here. It’s had so much construction work for so long. When you want to walk, there is construction and traffic, then you can’t even stop and sit anywhere other than the hotels.”
Fernando Gibaja, general manager of the Zabeel Saray resort, said the walkway would be a big hit with residents and guests who already make use of bike hire stations to ride along the crescent.
“For me, to be able to say that I can come and park my car, walk next to the water, that’s a very nice thing,” he said. “With places like JBR and Kite Beach, you go because you want to walk, be around people and enjoy the atmosphere. It will make a big difference to the atmosphere of the Palm and will make it a lot more attractive.”