Public walkways to offer more convenience

TRANSIT noted this article, providing an update on plans for a system of covered and air conditioned walkways in Kuala Lumpur, which is part of the KPI for the Federal Territories Ministry.

Public walkways to offer more convenience (The Star)

Thursday April 15, 2010
By BAVANI M

PEDESTRIANS in Kuala Lumpur can soon enjoy a convenient, safe, hassle-free and pleasant walking experience once Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s public walkway project is complete.

Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said the project, which is part of his ministry’s KPI, will probably see some walkways being air-conditioned and equipped with ventilation systems.

The project, which is expected to take off any time now, will see at least some of the missing links in the KLCC area being connected.

Nong Chik said studies had shown that in developed cities like the United States where the pedestrian linkage system was good, the people tended to lead healthier lifestyles.

“We need a similar walkway system because it will turn the KL City Centre into a Walkable City and help ease congestion.

“It will also encourage people to start walking instead of driving to work,” he said.

Nong Chik said public transport was one of the six National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) that are being looked into by the government and the target was to increase public transport usage from the current 16% to 25% by 2012.

“The public walkway system is one way of addressing this. Hopefully, when we have a fully integrated system in place, more people will opt to use public transport,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Fuad Ismail said he would be meeting up with consultants from Petronas, Prasarana and other private corporations who are keen to work with the DBKL on the walkway project next month.

He said a tender would be called after the meeting.

“There are four components to this project and the first one involves Prasarana building walkways and linkages connecting all their LRT stations and some bus stops.

“We have already received the plans for this and will kick-start the project soon,” he said.

“The next step will involve walkways linking the Petronas Twin Towers to areas like Impiana Hotel and its surrounding areas,” Fuad said, adding that RM100mil had been allocated for this.

Thirdly, Fuad said he would be approaching private companies in the city to complement the system further.

The mayor said he wanted to encourage the private sector to work with the DBKL as it would be a win-win situation for everyone.

TRANSIT Says:

TRANSIT obviously supports improvement to walkways and sidewalks in Kuala Lumpur (and other cities) to improve pedestrian facilities and increase the number of people walking and using public transport – but we have generally been wary of calls to build overhead walkways with escalators and air conditioning.

The more complicated the government makes the walkways, the more costly they will be and the harder they will be to maintain.

Frankly, the DBKL walkways along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and the widened Jalan Bukit Bintang (which are neither covered nor air conditioned) are excellent examples of what upgraded walkways should look like.

As always, TRANSIT invites your feedback on this issue and welcomes your comments in the space below.

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