TRANSIT to DBKL: Pedestrian bridges do not solve jaywalking deaths

The Star reports on issuance of summonses for pedestrians who cross the road without using the pedestrian bridges by the City Hall’s Road Safety Depart­ment officers.

Seven booked for jaywalking

KUALA LUMPUR: Seven people were summoned for dashing across the road rather than using the pedestrian bridge during the first half hour of a road safety campaign in Chow Kit here.

It was organised by the Road Safety Depart­ment, City Hall (DBKL), and the police yesterday.

Safe crossing: Muhammad Heeza (left) and Megawati Mohd Noor (second from left) attending a road safety advocacy campaign along Chow Kit Road in Kuala Lumpur. (The Star)

Department director Muhammad Heeza Hassan said the percentage of road accidents here involving pedestrians had increased by 50% from January to November this year compared with the same period last year.

TRANSIT Says: We wishes to express disappointment over the City Hall’s knee-jerk reaction to ‘prevent’ pedestrian accidents in the city center by punishing jaywalkers.

Pedestrians crossing at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. (Utusan)

Pedestrian accidents are caused by the high speed gap between nonmotorized and motorized modes of transport, not by the lack of pedestrian bridges (or their use). As the authorities focus on making journey by car faster and easier at the expense of the pedestrian convenience, less and less people would want to take the public transport, and more and more people would have to use their cars to run errands. This explains why our wide road spaces in downtown KL oftentimes turn into ugly scenes of polluting car parks.

Pedestrians crossing at Jalan Dang Wangi. (TRANSIT Photo)

In line with our national urban plans and policies which emphasizes optimum urban land use and compact cities, the present mobility infrastructure within areas with high people-based activities must be designed to facilitate movement of people instead of cars. GTP’s Greater KL ambition to sustain the population of 10 million urbanites will be in great danger if we fail to shift towards the very fundamental mindset that accords respect from car drivers to pedestrians, and from those who travel individually to those who travel collectively.

Pedestrians crossing near Pavillion. (The Star)

TRANSIT calls for pedestrian bridges at streets with heavy and bustling people-based activity centers such as Jalan Pudu, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Jalan TAR to be dismantled and replaced by at-grade crossings, which are friendlier to seniors, children and the physically challenged alike.

Pedestrian bridge, such as this one near Kuching Waterfront (heart of the city), should not be installed in places where walking is the biggest mean of getting around. (TRANSIT Photo)

In activity centers, pedestrian bridges do not solve jaywalking deaths, but slower speed limit for general traffic and greater right of way to pedestrians will do. Walking remains the single greatest mode to access public transport, and hence efforts to guarantee its convenience should be given emphasis in transforming Kuala Lumpur into a sustainable and livable metropolis.

Imagine who would want to use this pedestrian bridge in front of Melaka Sentral. (Photo credit to unknown blogger)

Cities with high public transport ridership rarely have pedestrian bridges. Take a look at these photos.

Adelaide's tram station at road median, connected to sidewalks on both side of the street via wide zebra x-ings.
Transit mall at Bogota, Columbia. If this can be made to happen in a 'third world' country, what more Malaysia? Come on, Malaysia boleh!
Crowds at Times Square, New York. Look ma, no pedestrian bridges!
Leisure walking can still take place on the weekends in downtown Tokyo.

Take a look at an interesting video made in La Paz, where youngsters were paid to wear zebra costumes on the street to educate drivers to pay respect to pedestrians in a very fun, creative and engaging way.

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