Brickfields bus & taxi lane delayed until after Deepavali. Will the new initiatives make a difference?

TRANSIT has taken note of recent plans to build bus & taxi lanes on Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. Originally we were told that the bus & taxi lanes would be in place by August 20th. However, we have recently learned that the Federal Territories & Urban Wellbeing Ministry will be delaying the completion of the bus & taxi lanes until after Deepavali.

This is apparently to “avoid confusion” over the lanes, and to also allow enough time to complete the construction of additional parking spaces behind the shops along Jalan Tun Sambanthan.

The 4-lane wide road, a major corridor for private vehicles & public transport, is known to be perpetually congested, partly because of vehicles double parking along the side of the road. It remains to be seen how drivers will respond to the future plan for Jalan Tun Sambanthan.

Double parking on both sides of Jalan Tun Sambanthan affects private vehicles and public transport users. Image courtesy of the Malay Mail.

As far as we know (since we have yet to see a map of the proposal) we will likely see one KL-bound bus & taxi lane on the kerbside near KL Sentral, two KL-bound lanes for mixed traffic, and a single contraflow bus & taxi lane on the  KL Monorail side, for traffic bound for Seputeh & Bangsar.

Bus and taxi lane after Deepavali (The Star Metro-Central)
Monday August 22, 2011

By BAVANI M

THE bus and taxi lane system in Brickfields will start after the Deepavali celebrations, said Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.

Raja Nong Chik said the bus lane system would be implemented after the festival so as not to confuse the public.

“This will also give Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) ample time to complete building the 52 parking lots behind the business premises in Little India Brickfields,’’ he said.

Raja Nong Chik said DBKL contractors were working round the clock to complete building the parking lots. The parking bays will replace the ones in front of the shops to make way for the bus and taxi lane system.

The system was supposed to be implemented on Saturday but was delayed because the parking bays were not ready.

Once it is ready the bus and taxi flow will run through the main road of Jalan Tun Sambanthan (from Esso/Public Bank) and cut off to Jalan Travers at the Little India Fountain and head for Seputeh through Jalan Tun Sambanthan (in front of Sri Paandi restaurant).

Raja Nong Chik said apart from the 52 parking lots, DBKL is also building a multi-storey car park at two government plots of land in Jalan Tun Sambanthan 1 (near the Kuala Lumpur City Hall Sports Club) and in Jalan Tun Sambanthan 6 (near the Brickfields post office).

“We have taken into consideration the views of the stakeholders in Brickfields and have come up with the best solution for everyone.

“The residents, schools, church, temple-goers, the blind and disabled people have been having a hard time there.

The main problems faced by the stakeholders are traffic congestion and noise pollution, especially along Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad.

“This is due to the fact that the road was the main route for buses heading towards Seputeh and Bangsar,’’ Raja Nong Chik said.

The heavy vehicles plying the road added to the congestion and pollution along Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad.

Raja Nong Chik said providing the bus and taxi lane in Jalan Tun Sambanthan heading towards Bangsar and Seputeh would reduce the congestion in Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad.

He added that this would also ensure the safety of the residents, schoolchildren and the disabled community who had voiced their concerns over the one-way traffic system.

“Everyone concerned agreed on this and we felt that the bus lane system is the best win-win solution for all,’’ Raja Nong Chik said.

Brickfields RT chairman S.K.K Naidu said he was happy that the ministry had taken the views of the residents into account.

“We are happy with this decision and are grateful to the minister,’’ said Naidu.

Palm Court resident Annie Samuel said she felt a big burden had been lifted from her shoulders.

“Knowing that the buses are not going to be plying in front of home is indeed a big relief. At least I don’t have to worry about my children’s safety,’’ she added.

Businessman K. Sreetharan said he was grateful that the authorities were doing something to replace the parking lots. “It shows that they care and we appreciate It,’’ he added.

TRANSIT Says:

Now, without a chance to view the plan, it is hard for us to give feedback and comment on whether the solution will be effective or not. From the descriptions above, we will definitely have one bus & taxi lane along Jalan Tun Sambanthan on the KL Monorail side.

The obvious question is how effective will the lane be, and how effective will the enforcement be? Aside from preventing private cars from using the lane it will also be necessary to prevent taxi drivers from stopping (outside of the layby area near the KL Monorail station) and prevent buses from delaying each other – not to mention, reducing the existing crowding in the area as people wait for their specific bus.

Fortunately, SPAD headquarters is located right at KL Sentral, so we should be able to expect strong, effective enforcement in Brickfields, should we not?

By the way, a few weeks ago TRANSIT took note of these three sources which covered recent criticism of the proposed contra-flow bus lane for Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, KL. As usual, we see public response to government projects as being wary and wondering why things cannot be done right the “first time” instead of having to repeat mistakes.

This just proves, once again, that public transport consultation must be active (indeed, proactive) and must be ongoing.

Bus lane contra-dictions (Star Metro Central)

6 August 2011
By BAVANI M
bavanim@thestar.com.my
Photo by P. NATHAN

BUSINESSMEN in Brickfields warned the government today that any attempts to implement the contra-flow bus lane into the already congested Little India will not only kill business but will turn the township into a ghost town.

The Brickfields Business Community Society (BBCS) secretary-general A. Karuppiah said the move to implement the contra-flow bus lane on Aug 20 was a recipe for disaster.

“If Kuala Lumpur City Hall is to go ahead with the plan, business will suffer as people will stop coming into Little India.

“What about the safety of the schoolchildren, the blind and the disabled community? How are they going to move around?,’’ he asked.

Sheer waste: DBKL contractors clearing the landscape to make way for the contra-flow bus lane. Image courtesy of The Star.

Karuppiah said the government must push for a “pedestrian friendly” instead of a “bus friendly” Little India.“They are going against their own principle of turning Kuala Lumpur into a pedestrian city,” he said.

S. Raja, who runs a photocopying shop in Little India, said his business had already dropped by 30% since Jalan Tun Sambanthan was converted into a one-way street last year.

“The contra-flow system will take away the parking bays for customers and that would mean a loss of business. Even now with so few parking bays people think twice of stopping in Little India. If the buses are allowed here, nobody is going to come here,’’ he said.

[TRANSIT: What about all those people on the buses? Oh, yes, they are “nobody” to the business owners]

Another trader, M. Sankaran, said there would be no place in front of the shops to unload or load goods.

“I pay rental of RM14,000 a month. My business has to be good to afford that kind of rental,’’ he said.

Little India Action Committee chairman S. Pathavachalam said DBKL was talking about building parking bays but that was only going to happen in 2014.

“What do we do until then? he asked.

“They make all these changes but fail to provide the supporting infrastructure and they talk about putting people first,’’ Pathava-chalam said.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said DBKL must stop misleading the public by saying that they welcome feedback from stakeholders.

“Since the beginning of the Little India project, we have sent out 60 memorandums to Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk M. Saravanan. This not a new issue. We have been harping on this from the beginning,’’ Nurul Izzah said.

The BBCS is proposing an alternative plan to divert the buses from Kuala Lumpur via Sultan Abdul Samad. If the contra-flow system is implemented, the bus flow will run through the main road of Jalan Tun Sambanthan (from Esso/Public Bank) and cut off to Jalan Travers at the Little India Fountain and head for Seputeh through the 500m stretch of what is now Little India.

The move would also entail the removal of certain structures in Little India to facilitate the traffic flow and is seen as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

TRANSIT Says:

We look at the article above as a clear example of what perceptions have to be dealt with when it comes to public transport usage.

As much as we feel for the business owners along Jalan Tun Sambanthan, parking space directly in front of your shop is not an absolute necessity to preserve your business, public transport users are potential customers, and we must not forget that Brickfields is a major corridor for public transport (buses, rail and monorail).

BRICKFIELDS FOLKS UNIMPRESSED BY CONTRA-FLOW BUS LANE (Komunitikini.com)

LEVEN WOON
5 Aug, 2011

Brickfields folks today rubbished the plan by Federal Territories Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin to introduce a new contra-flow bus lane along Jalan Tun Sambathan, saying it will do more harm than good.

They were strongly against the idea of acquiring parking bays along Jalan Tun Sambathan to make the bus lane, which they claimed will inflict severe impact on business operators and pedestrians.

[TRANSIT: we’re really not sure how the loss of parking bays would affect pedestrians but then, anything is possible.]

Some 20 of them staged a picket near Jalan Tun Sambathan T-junction today, voicing their objections against the new plan.

“As shop operator we need space to load and unload our goods, and our customers need parking space,” said Brickfields Business Community Society (BBCS) secretary A. Karuppiah.

“You can’t be asking them to pay RM5 to park at the elevated parking to buy RM5 flower,” said the florist (right).

[TRANSIT: When TRANSIT was facilitating discussion at a recent conference on urban renewal in KL, one of the proposals that came out was to put short term parking spaces inside parking garages, to facilitate those quick pick-up-drop-off activities that are apparently so necessary to retail success in KL.]

Komunitikini was told that the parking bays were only alienated in May 2011, despite switching to the one-way traffic system in Brickfields since May last year.

Merchants said their brisk business would only last for three months if the Ministry insist to go ahead with the contra-flow bus lane.

“How is the plan going to benefit locals? Locals are using cars, they don’t take buses to come to Brickfields,” Karuppiah said.

[TRANSIT: Seriously? Locals (probably meaning “Malaysians” don’t take buses to come to Brickfields? Why do we find that hard to believe?]

“Only for MRCB interests”

Pantai MP Nurul Izzah, who attended the picket, said the authorities overlooked the fact that pedestrians and students are also part of the traffic.

“By taking away car parks to make the bus lane, it will make the road more difficult to cross,”

“Students, pedestrians, visually-impaired and tourists are all traffic and they need to have access to the road,” she said.

[TRANSIT: YB, it actually makes the road safer to cross since sightlines & movement will not be impaired by parked vehicles. Although, a wider crossing area would definitely be beneficial here.]

“It’s not the people who ask for the changes, now they have to suffer,” she (left) added.

The PKR vice president also said the authorities are only focusing on the need of KL Sentral.

“They are doing this because MRCB and other companies have interests in it,” she claimed, referring to the KL Sentral developer Malaysian Resource Corporation Berhad.

[TRANSIT: It’s too bad that such an allegation is not substantiated. YB Nurul Izzah should consider that KL Sentral is not just a building or an organization, but it is also an important public service (a railway station) and public transport node.]

According to The Star report, the contra-flow bus lane will run through Jalan Tun Sambanthan main road (from Esso/Public Bank) and cut off to Jalan Travers at the Little India Fountain and head for Seputeh through Jalan Tun Sambanthan (in front of the Sri Paandi restaurant).

The local folks, on the other hand, asked the authorities to abandon the bus lane idea, instead turning Jalan Tun Sambathan main road (from Esso/Public Bank) to a two-way road.

“Then traffic going to Bangsar will not need to go through Jalan Abdul Samad and Jalan Tun Sambathan stretch road (Sri Paandi restaurant),” said Karuppiah.

The plan will reduce 80 percent of the traffic in Brickfields, he added.

TRANSIT Says:

We would really, really love to see a decent map that would show the proposed lanes and how they will be delineated. This is frustrating, is it not?

Congested Little India says no to bus lane (The Malaysian Insider)
By Yow Hong Chieh
August 05, 2011

Authorities should scrap the arches lining the streets in Little India if they insist on the bus lane said Pathavachalam — file pic courtesy of The Malaysian insider.

KUALA LUMPUR Aug 5 — The proposed bus lane through Little India will worsen already bad traffic congestion here and hurt businesses still smarting from the one-way system put in place last year, local groups have said.

Brickfields Business Community Society BBCS secretary A Karuppiah said the government should instead divert buses and other vehicles headed to Bangsar around Little India and not allow traffic to pass through the area unnecessarily.

“Bangsar traffic is the one that’s causing the biggest jam in Little India and 60 per cent of the vehicles are from Bangsar.” he told reporters at a press conference today.

Karuppiah said if the contra-flow bus lane is implemented later this month as planned businesses will suffer as they will not be unable to unload their goods easily.

“If they want to give the area a bus lane ask them to dismantle the arches.” he said, referring to the arches installed last year during a government-sponsored facelift of the area.

Little India Action Committee chairman S Pathavachalam said the proposed bus lane will only exacerbate the existing shortage of parking that has made it difficult for customers to patronise shops in here.

He claimed the traffic police were already issuing “hundreds of summons” every day to motorists who stop to shop or eat here as they had no choice but to park illegally due to lack of parking bays.

“And once again the business is going to die. This has to be made clear ” he said.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, who was also at the press conference said the government should not make the people of Little India suffer just to meet the needs of KL Sentral and its owner MRCB.

[TRANSIT: And what needs are those, exactly?]

“What’s the point of having a cultural centre if it’s just going to be a transit point ” she said.

[TRANSIT: YB Nurul Izzah, Brickfields is a transit point. Hundred of buses pass through daily. Thousands of passengers connect to buses (and trains at KL Sentral station) through Brickfields.]

Nurul Izzah urged the government to consider the alternative plan to divert traffic around the area as it was a win-win solution for both KL Sentral and the people of Little India.

[TRANSIT: Does anyone have a map showing this proposal? Even a scribble on a napkin would be better than nothing.]

“What is important is for them to solve the problem they created….So Little India can truly be a hub to be proud of not just used to promote Malaysia to India.” she said.

[TRANSIT: Look, whatever happens with the “cultural hub”, Brickfields is a major bus corridor and transit point between the bus, KL Monorail and LRT & KTM and ERL services. That is not going to change anytime soon. In fact, the proposal that we have seen for MRT Line 2 has the Circle Line running through Brickfields as well!]

The Star reported today that Kuala Lumpur City Hall DBKL will implement a contra-flow bus lane in Brickfields on August 20 despite objections from various stakeholders The bus flow will run through the main road of Jalan Tun Sambanthan from the Esso fuel station there and cut off to Jalan Travers at the Little India Fountain before heading towards Seputeh through Jalan Tun Sambanthan in front of Sri Paandi restaurant.

TRANSIT Says:

We are visual people here at TRANSIT. We need a map. Won’t somebody, anybody provide us with a map showing these two proposals (from the government and the BBCS) so people can get an idea of what the plan is and they can give feedback.

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4 thoughts on “Brickfields bus & taxi lane delayed until after Deepavali. Will the new initiatives make a difference?”

  1. just like people in TTDI, chinatown, (probably i would say Malaysian generally), now turning into Singaporean mentality. they only think of themselves.

    yes without doubt due to Malaysian culture to move from A to B using private vehicle to the max makes those folks in little india suffering losses. in this case SPAD should look in bigger picture, not just involving in construction projects and setup policy. they should try to cooperate with MoE to teach pupils to use public transport. we should change our movement lifestyle.

  2. and nurul izzah is REALLY!!. since the GE is near, she seems try to win little india folks hearts by making such statements. i LOL when someone imagine that she gonna be PM if her father in lock up. that’s hilarious, she really need to learn a lot. some of her statements above reflects how her mind works. sigh. only think big player as evil and rakyat always in the right side.

  3. @Sepol

    try convincing teachers who don’t use public transport to preach public transport.

    Actually, I would think that little india has more to benefit from the current “seamless” monorail – kl sentral interchange.

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