Salem Al Mubarak Street is Turning Pedestrian Only

Post by Mark

I can’t believe this is actually happening, they’re finally turning Salem Al Mubarak Street into a pedestrian only street. When I posted about this proposal back in February, I was very adamant that it would never happen and looks like I was wrong, kinda (more on that in a bit). So far they’ve closed down and dug up half of the old Salmiya street. For those of you who aren’t very familiar with this area and the street, Salem Al Mubarak Street starts off at the end of the 4th Ring Road and goes all the way down past Al Fanar Complex and down past AUK and Symphony Mall. “Old Salmiya” which is turning into pedestrian only starts at the end of the 4th Ring Road and ends at Al Salam Mall where LuLu Supermarket is. I’m very passionate about this street because I’ve lived on it (literally) all my life. So I’ve experienced it during its heydays in the 80s, I experienced it during the invasion and after in the 90s, and I’m still experiencing it now on a daily basis since I live on top of one of the shopping complexes on that street. I care about this area a lot so lets start with the good things about all this, and then I’ll mention some negative stuff which are as important.

The Good
– Back in February when I mentioned this project I called it a joke. Mostly because if they were to follow the renderings that were shared with the public (like the one above), it would have meant demolishing the whole street with all the buildings and starting from scratch. So when I spoke to the engineer behind the project yesterday, I asked him about all these modern buildings in the renderings and turns out they were just placed there as inspiration to the current building owners. Phew! That means neither my building nor all the classic two-story buildings (pictured below) on the street will be demolished. For now at least…

– Work is going to be completed pretty soon, they’re aiming to have the street ready by Q1 of next year

– My building is going to be located on a pedestrian only commercial street, how cool is that? I mean its not Carnaby Street or Liverpool ONE, but it’s still cool. Might finally have a reason to buy a Boosted Board.

The Bad
– The street has currently been dug up but no consideration has been made for pedestrians and shop owners. Yesterday I walked down the street to LuLu and in a number of spots I was forced to walk in deep sand which is very difficult to walk in. There are a whole line of shops who just have sand right outside their door because the sidewalks were dug up and no temporary path were put in its place. From what I was told by my buildings landlord, foot traffic has decreased considerably and shop owners in my building have started to feel the effect. Temporary paths should be created to keep the area and shops alive. I’m meeting with the engineer behind the project next week and I’m going to bring this important point up.

– The parking situation in old Salmiya is a mess as it is and now by shutting down the main street which included a lot of parking spots, parking is even a bigger mess. The municipality has already placed signs pointing people to parking locations in the area, but as a resident of the area myself, I found these signs hard to understand, hard to see and they don’t seem to point anywhere. I’m curious to see what parking solutions they’ve come up with to go along with this project.

– Finally, they’ve killed a lot of trees. This is probably the saddest thing about the project. They’ve so far uprooted and killed I would say around 10 large trees, maybe more. These are trees that have been there from the very start of the street (pictured above) and have survived and endured so much. The first question I asked the engineer when he contacted me on Twitter yesterday was if they were removing the trees. He responded saying “Only some .. coz i try hard to keep it but it’s need a lot of work but I kept some coz in my idea that is the land mark of this street”. In my opinion ALL the trees should have stayed and it’s sad to see them being chopped up and bulldozed away. No idea if I can convince him to stop chopping down trees but will see when I pass by their offices next week.

Overall I’m excited my area is finally getting the attention it deserves. But now I’m just hoping the project is done right. Once I pass by the project’s office next and get more details, I’ll post and update.

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47 comments, add your own...

  1. teenum says:

    I remember a few years ago they were laying bricks near the trees to make it look better and now they are making it a walkway. Such a waste of money trying to lay those bricks when they could have started with this earlier.

    Also, I was considering getting a boosted board. Winter is coming up and the Marina to Scientific Center walkway is perfect.

    Do you have any idea how you’ll ship it? Postaplus?

  2. Raz says:

    That is going to be awesome if, as you pointed out, they sort out the parking situation there.

    Btw, a couple of typos in the second last para:
    1. “…and have survived END (and) endured so much.”

    2. “Only some .. coz i try hard to keep it but IT’S NEED (it needs) a lot of work but I kept some coz in my idea that is the land mark of this street”. – unless this is straight from his twitter feed

    200 fils to the typo tip jar

  3. Stathis says:

    Who is doing this project?

  4. khaled says:

    engineer seems passionate about the issue, and hopefully this will be done right, any difficulties faced by the owners might be compensated in a weeks worth of customers once the project is done

  5. Kuwait says:

    First shot DJI Spark?

    • Mark says:

      Yes! Wanna hear something weird? The spark wouldn’t fly any higher the signal would keep getting killed and drone would fly back down automatically. Even though I was using the remote which gives it a 500m height, it was barely going up 20m. I think it has to do with the fact the building on my right has telecom towers on the roof and their signals must have been interfering with the drone.

      • Sam says:

        How do you plan on cleaning the Spark? Won’t a dusty environment lead to problems later on?

      • Kuwait says:

        Turn-off beginner mode

        Connect the screen (ipad/phone) to the remote via cable and not wi-fi

        • cajie says:

          “Connect via cable” is a myth. It does not make any difference – especially if you are using an iOS device like Mark.
          Mark is correct regarding the signal interference. Locations such as these have so much interference that you are lucky to get 30-40 meters height before it disconnects (even without telecom towers). Everyone in the buildings has wifi running at the same frequencies as the Spark (2.4 or 5.8). You need Mavic here with its Occusync.

        • Mark says:

          Beginner mode was off and phone was connected to remote via cable. I said it’s due to signal interference…

          • Kuwait says:

            Dang that sucks then. We’ve got these mobile towers (in plain sight/disguised)everywhere in Kuwait. So far haven’t flown mine beyond what would be 5-6 floors.

  6. Mu says:

    Although I don’t live either pass by this area .. I’m so happy about it. This street is ideal to turn pedestrian only.

  7. Sh says:

    Close to 26 years near this area and at last it happens. I share the same sentiments Mark.

  8. Karan says:

    Hey Mark, is the walking street going to be from end of fourth ring road to Lulu? Or is it until AUK?

  9. Rickstove says:


    Any update about the building being constructed on the right? It’s been in a half completed state for 2-3 years now. It looks more like a parking lot and nothing like the initial renderings.

  10. Khaled says:

    Oh boy, it’s finally moving along…

    I echo a lot of your sentiments, Mark – this is a very iconic street/area for Kuwaitis and expats alike, so while it’s great to see it getting some attention it’s also upsetting to see some of its spirit being hacked away. I’m glad the buildings in the renderings aren’t part of the plan but hopefully they’ll provide some impetus to owners in the area to give existing structures a little TLC.

    The current stretch of work from the end of the Fourth until LuLu/Al Salam Mall is only the first phase; I’ve seen drawings where the ultimate plan is to pedestrianize Salem Al Mubarak Street all the way from where the work currently is down to the AUK traffic light. Qatar and Hamad Al Mubarak Streets will have to become tunnels going under the pedestrian parts as part of the re-planning of the road network and the whole thing is supposed to take a few years; I’m expecting a lot of pushback from mall/residence/other business owners with frontages onto Salem Al Mubarak as the project moves forward.

    As for the parking situation, I’m worried about it too and always wondered why we don’t do something similar to something I’ve seen in Bern, Switzerland: the old town is very pedestrian-friendly but due to the narrow streets and people milling about, city planners had underground parking lots built beneath the streets with entrance/exit ramps onto major roads and direct access from the subterranean lots up to the pedestrian streets through elevators that opened directly onto the streets. Since access roads around/to Salem Al Mubarak have to be re-planned and re-routed as part of this project, there is a great opportunity for the architects and planners behind the project to burrow underground parking lots with access onto side roads or some of the more major unaffected roads nearby, thereby giving visitors somewhere to park without impeding flow on the new network.

    My two cents. Let’s see what happens…

    • Mark says:

      for parking I think they just need to multistory parking lots. The one behind Al Salam Mall would have been perfect but they demolished it for some stupid reason. There is an empty plot of land behind my house which is currently being used as parking, that should be turned into a multistory lot. Then there is a lot next to McDonalds across the street from my building, that could also be turned multistory. Finally there is a huge plot of land on the opposite corner of Al Salam Mall. They could turn that into a multistory parking and possibly connect it to old salmiya via a tunnel or bridge.

      It’s easy to solve but for some reason municipalities don’t seem to like multistory lots. I remember someone involved with Hamra Tower told me once how they originally had planned for like a 10-15 floor multi story parking lot but the municipality only approved 5 floors. They then had to basically beg for more floors and in the end got to build a 7 story parking lot which isn’t enough.

  11. Aslawi says:

    Great news,if only they didn’t It demolish the building which had family bookshop and the other building which had swan lake,them two being renovated alongside the rest of the buildings in that road,and turned into decent bookstores,coffe shops etc would have made kuwait stand up among the other FCC countries

  12. A says:

    Finally .. good news for cyclists

  13. Nate says:

    Wonder what will happen to the traffic near Al-Salam, lots of taxi’s and vehicles passing for LuLu, probably will have to take a whole round to reach the parking, wonder why they demolished the multi-story.

  14. M Kulchitsky says:

    Please add me to your mailing list.

  15. TheGreatest says:

    MashaAllah this looks great. Congratulations to Mark and all of Kuwait because I too love this iconic part of Salmiya. The end of the streets should have security or walled gate at all times so padestrians are safe from Cars entering forever.

  16. jean says:

    Thats one thing good, now if they have proper parking spaces it would be good. Hopefully they dont build a huge tower and destroy the make up like the one thats coming adjacent to Salam mall which is going to take a 2-3 years alteast.

  17. Code Markus says:

    No temporary walkway for pedestrians and forced to walk on to the sand. Destroying trees, and especially old ones that should be considered a landmark and history of this area. How sad…

  18. zaydoun says:

    Shame about the trees that are as much a part of this street’s identity as anything, but I hope the new plans will include some good green landscaping

  19. Kuwaiti says:

    If you want more info about this project try to get a hold of the MR.FASIL AL-JIHAYEM, he’s is the engineer behind this project

    • Mark says:

      yup i know, i mentioned in the post that i’m in contact with the engineer behind this project and that i’m passing by their offices next week :)

  20. ariston says:

    Nice.. but why they’re also cutting most of the trees in the middle?

  21. Wasif khan says:

    It’s a positive step but this strech of the road was already very pedestrian friendly. The road with decent shopping spots, malls and cafes streches from Al Salam to AUk which looks unlikely to be touched by this project.

  22. IT says:

    I only hope they borrow a page or two from the Santa Monica pedestrian boulevard.

  23. Talal says:

    ^^^ No thank you! ^^^ Why does everything have to be from America?? Kuwait is already Americanized enough as it is. Fuck America!

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