Blame the developers for traffic congestion … but not the developers alone.

TRANSIT’s Zul was interviewed in Free Malaysia Today discussing some of the reasons behind the overwhelming traffic congestion that we face on our roads today.

Blame the developers for traffic congestion (Free Malaysia Today)
Patrick Lee
May 20, 2011

Local councils usually left traffic planning to developers who normally don’t have a clue about traffic flow.

PETALING JAYA: What do developers know about traffic planning? Nothing. And this is the reason for congestion in residential areas, says a transport expert.

Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah of TRANSIT. Image courtesy of FMT.

Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit (Transit) chairman Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah said the fault lies not only with the developers but also the local councils.

The local councils often left traffic planning to developers.

“When this happens, traffic consultants typically do not factor in variables outside of their study area, and this results in piecemeal traffic assessments,” he told FMT.

Zulkarnain said that land developers often hired their own traffic consultants and these consultants always favoured their employer’s development applications.

“There are no requirements that hold developers accountable in consideration of traffic impact on adjacent areas,” Zulkarnain said.

[TRANSIT: In other words, their narrow focus on their specific ‘area of scope’ leaves them unaware of problems caused in other areas or adjacent areas. It’s similar to the issue of gating your neighbourhood … It does not reduce crime but pushes it elsewhere.]

He added that local councils needed to take a greater interest in traffic planning instead of leaving it to the developers.

[TRANSIT: Many councils have “traffic engineers” rather than considering traffic in a holistic way through urban planning, development planning & transportation planning. This is why roads that are originally built for smaller volumes of traffic cannot cope as a township expands. Local councils still hold to the view that “transport is a Federal responsibility.]

He warned that councils that didn’t, often left their residents facing traffic congestion in their neighbourhood.

Traffic congestion in what appears to be an Indian city (notice the Auto-Rickshaws). Image courtesy of FMT.


Subang Jaya example

Using the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) as an example, he said: “MPSJ is the only council that directly appoints consultants to conduct traffic assessments, but only [did this] after congestion in Subang Jaya had already reached intolerable levels.”

Zulkarnain said that when it came to traffic planning, developers were left to their own devises [sic].

He added that mayors and city council presidents should share the blame as they often rejected bus lanes in favour of cars.

“See what has happened to Subang Jaya now?” he said.

FMT previously reported on the plight of Taman Wangsa Permai (under Selayang) residents, who had to spend more than an hour getting out of their housing area.

People there also had to deal with a heavily-travelled main road, which served as a link between industrial areas.

It was also the only way in or out for Taman Wangsa Permai’s 40,000 residents.

Commenting on this, Zulkarnain said that the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) needed to work with other government agencies and transport companies to ease Taman Wangsa Permai’s congestion.

“What they should do is to initiate a local transport masterplan with cooperation from SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission) and work with RapidKL over routes and schedules,” Zulkarnain said.

He added that contra-flow bus lanes, priority signals and “comprehensive” pedestrian sidewalks would improve the traffic situation there.

“Rather than moving less than 600 mostly single-occupant slow-moving vehicles, one road lane can quickly move more than 3,000 passengers during rush hour,” he said.

Zulkarnain also recommended a bus rapid transit system linking the area to KL’s city centre to reduce residents’ reliance on private vehicles.

TRANSIT Says:

There we go – it’s not only just the developers who are to blame. It’s mainly the lack of holistic planning and planning for growth and only catering to the needs of vocal car drivers that is to blame. The developers & local councils (and we ourselves) become the architects of our own misery.

Public transport is only part of the solution and it can do a great deal to move people and make our roads & communities more efficient.

But what is more important is getting the public involved in building their communities (or rebuilding them) and helping them understand that communities will almost always continue to grow.

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13 thoughts on “Blame the developers for traffic congestion … but not the developers alone.”

  1. Didn’t you know that our government always claim they have all the “qualified experts” for everything including traffic and road planning?? Well, this is what happen if they try to act smart and save the trouble and rely all their trusts on all these developers which unfortunately a lot of them are the government”s cronys. After all the rakyat (people) from all walks of life and professions had gave tonnes of suggestions and advice through out all these decades it seems like the government rather prefer turning deaf ears to these advices/suggestions/ideas rather they choose to 100% fully trust their so called incompetent and imbecile “experts” especially the economy planning unit in the Prime Minister Department (Jabatan Perdanan Menteri) which had been WIDELY RECOGNISED AND PROVEN FOR THEIR INEFFECTIVE AND INSUFFICIENT RESULTS IN ALL ASPECTS OF TRAFFIC PLANNING!!! Another Malaysia Boleh ACHIEVEMENT!!! Malaysia Boleh!!! RASUAH DAN KRONISMA JAUH LAGI BOLEH!!!

  2. None would disagree that Jeffrey is in a habit of throwing insults.

    It is sad that this is a man that will never write responsibly.

    Do we need a third advice from Moaz to wake him up?

  3. @Wrongdoings_rapidkl
    Yes, you are very CORRECT!!! INSULTS OF JUSTICE AND ULTIMATE TRUTH!!! Unlike you Wrongdoings_rapidkl, BLIND AND UNSEEN!!!

    1. Patrick…I agree with you (though at first I thought … who says “chortle, chortle” these days? 😀 ) …. methinks that Wrongdoings_RapidKL and Jeffrey Ang should go have a teh tarik together … they might find that they have more in common than they would think.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  4. Go to see the postings of wrongdoings_rapidkl in The Star Blog and you will know if wrongdoings_rapidkl is really blind and unseen or otherwise.

  5. The reason people don’t use public transport is because they are lazy. It has been proven that Malaysians are the laziest creatures in the planet. Many takes home 4 figure incomes but expect door-to-door limo service at the push of a button. A bus or train service at 5 minute frequencies and 5 minutes walk from home and their destination is useless as along as their mentality remain unchanged.

    These people should go to Japan and study how the Japanese live. The don’t mind using public transport. They don’t mind rail staffs pushing them into every inch of space available.

    Before accusing the Govt of corruption and cronyism, the rakyat should look at themselves. If they bemoan the situation of this country, it is them to blame as it is them who shape their nation.

    Change yourself for the better and you will make this country the best in the world.

  6. In rgds to this blog post and the perennial jam at kota damansara, the fault can’t be of developers alone (even though they stand to gain the most). Our local town councils hv been inept n the MBPJ does not hv any updates to their website since April – i sent an email to to test n it bounced. R they still working??

    I hv a radical suggestion as to how we can deter driving unnecessarily. Impose a parking tax. Retailers like ikea, the curve, sunway giza has benefitted at the suffering of the local residents. It is time to impose a charge on parking fee which is currently too low as a deterrence. If they wish to subsidize, all the better out of their pockets. If they want to retain their biz by providing shuttle buses, better still. However the msg has to be sent to the likes of retailers that if they operate near residential areas, they hv to pay for causing congestion

    1. Kota Damansara is basically facing the same problems that Subang Jaya did 15-5 years ago … a community designed with one narrow “main road”, a single narrow “secondary road” and congestion at the most likely entrance/exit.

      In Subang Jaya the congestion builds back from the Federal highway in the mornings. In Kota Damansara it builds back from 1 Utama and the LDP as well as the North-South highway interchange.

      Subang Jaya and Kota Damansara also have similar issues with poorly planned density, poor public transport (Kota Damansara has only one RapidKL bus route, which is terrible!) and too much development over a short period of time.

      As for a parking tax – charges should be placed on the developers and enforcement should actually be in the hands of the local council and/or Bomba … consider that the danger of traffic jams also includes delays to emergency vehicles which means that lives are potentially being lost because emergency services cannot get there in time.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  7. I think you are right there as the jams are terrible in the mornings and evenings for Mon-Fri. Nevertheless, there is also the jam suffered by the residents during the weekend sales / late Fri night sales.

    Secondly to chase after the developers and town councils, they are long far and away by now that the project has been completed. Rather we shld be going after those that are benefiting from the situation now.

    Question is, shld we allow for such crowd pullers to be located smack in the middle of residential area? Especially IKEA where ppl would drive for miles, as there is only 1 IKEA in whole KL. Of course they can say that there is the highway coming in from Penchala Link. Perhaps what we need from retailers is that they too must contribute back by having shuttle buses for free to the nearest LRT. We hv seen 1 or 2 example, now we must make it as a rule.

    As for buses, i think there is one Metrobus as well passing from 1Utama turning in through Home Depot. But the bus of course is not exactly your most comfortable.

    Taxis, charges an exorhibitant price. I was asking the other Sunday from 1Utama to Pelangi Damansara and they are asking for RM14 (distance less than 5 km). it is ridiculous, and that is why the taxis are languishing, and thus not able to help to reduce the jam.

  8. Furthermore, biz have always touted how environmental friendly they are. They pick n choose which issue like no plastic bags b/cos it is saves cost, but did not provide for shuttle buses cos it is expensive. Hurting their reputation is hurting their biz.

    A few yrs back, Greenpeace launched a video of peeling a Kit Kat eating an orang utan finger. It went viral and Nestle quickly adapted, forcing their suppliers using palm oil that is environmental friendly. Likewise, a campaign from NGOs can hurt the reputation of such biz like IKEA, 1Utama and force them to ensure that future plans being drawn up also takes into acct residential wellbeing. We are now landed with nice shopping malls, but terrible public such as traffic jams. It is time for them to pull their weight as well.

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