ADUNs in Petaling Jaya call for PJ LRT instead of proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway

Transit took note of the proposal from 4 ADUN in the Selangor State Assembly (representing Petaling Jaya) that the route of the proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway (a.k.a. “KiDex” or “KIDEX Skyway“) would be better utilized for public transportation.

Image of proposed Rapid Transit (orange) in KiDex corridor (blue)

But first, we also note that the Selangor State government may finally be listening to public concerns and taking a look at whether the elevated 2-lane Expressway is even needed.

S’gor govt to probe Kidex benefits (The Sun Daily, April 6, 2014)
PETALING JAYA: The Selangor state government is in the midst of getting information about the progress of the Kidex (Kinrara-Damansara Expressway) project to see if it benefits the people.

State Youth and Sports, Infrastructure and Public Amenities committee chairman Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi said he is gathering information about the 14.9km elevated highway project.

TRANSIT Says:
As an aside, we think it would be wise for the Selangor Government to separate the 3 roles of this over large committee and create a committee that just focuses on “infrastructure networks” (transportation, communication, water and sewerage, and electrical power).

It has been more than 5 years since the Pakatan Government has been in charge of Selangor and they have recently been reelected…so perhaps they can afford to make these necessary administrative changes.

Anyways, the statement from Yeo Bee Yin (Damansara Utama), Rajiv Rishyakaran (Bukit Gasing), Ng Sze Han (Kinrara) and Lau Weng San (Kampung Tunku) is below. Note the comments from TRANSIT in italics:

We believe that the corridor for the proposed alignment of KIDEX (Kinrara-Damansara Expressway) will better be used as a public transport line. (April 5, 2014)

Joint Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, Rajiv Rishyakaran, Ng Sze Han and Lau Weng San, State Assemblypersons of Damansara Utama, Bukit Gasing, Kinrara and Kampung Tunku:

KIDEX is a 14.9km elevated highway project, worth [TRANSIT: “valued at”] RM2.2 billion, which aims at connecting the north and south of Klang Valley. While we welcome more highways [TRANSIT: a mistake, in our view ] to be built as Klang Valley develops, we believe that the current proposed alignment is a good corridor for public transport line instead of a highway.

Current alignment if made into a public transport line – Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Light Rapid Transit (LRT) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), is able to provide greater connectivity to the current public transport network, with possible interchanges with MRT Line 1, LRT Kelana Jaya Line, LRT Ampang Line and KTM Commuter (see attachment).

Taking up the airspace for the construction of the KIDEX highway will deny the people of Petaling Jaya and Puchong a future public transport link at this particular corridor. This is a spatial opportunity cost lost. [TRANSIT: It is not just a spatial opportunity being lost but also a movement opportunity as the rapid transit option could move between 5 and 10 times as many people as the 2-lane “skyway”]

KIDEX is an elevated highway that cut through densely populated and matured residential areas in Petaling Jaya and Puchong and its construction requires acquisition of about 300 plots of land. [TRANSIT: If you note from the beautiful images on the KiDEx website, there are no ramps connecting ground level roads to the elevated highway. Ramps occupy lots of space but KiDEx won’t show you that] Putrajaya must prove to the people of Petaling Jaya and Puchong, who are the biggest stakeholders of the project, that the highway project will indeed benefit them more than a public transport project.

Therefore, we urge the federal government to do comparative studies between a highway and public transport line at this particular corridor. KIDEX should also study other alternative alignments. If a highway with the proposed alignment is found to be best option for Klang Valley traffic, then we hope that KIDEX can provide more convincing traffic impact assessment with facts and figures to justify that. At the moment, we have yet to receive traffic impact assessment from KIDEX despite making several requests.

We acknowledge the need for more highways for traffic dispersal as Petaling Jaya and the Klang Valley grows and develops. [TRANSIT: It is time for our wakil rakyat to understand that we have moved past the days when traffic “dispersal” was a real option. We need to think about traffic reduction and replacement instead. ] However, this should not be done on an ad-hoc manner, as with KIDEX planning, but through holistic planning for the Klang Valley road infrastructure, for example Klang Valley traffic master plan.

Only with a holistic traffic master plan that we know which location is best for what transport mode at Klang Valley and only with that the city can development in a more sustainable manner, realizing the full potential of the land value.

TRANSIT Says:

And there you have it, dear readers…a clear statement from ADUN-ADUN representing Petaling Jaya. Now if only they had included some data to support their statements. Perhaps we can help.

First, the average traffic lane on a limited access highway can move between 900 and 1500 vehicles per hour. Based on the average number of persons per vehicle (1.2 in North America, supposedly 1.8 in Malaysia) the average lane of a highway is moving between 1200 and 2300 people.
Let us call that 2000 people per hour…though the actual number is probably closer to 1700.

Second, we know that KiDEx will have 2 lanes in each direction, do we can safely assume that the highway will move approximately 3000-4000 people per hour in each direction.

In contrast, the Ampang LRT Line currently carries more than 20,000 passengers per hour in each direction. The Kelana Jaya, with smaller trains but higher frequencies, currently carries well over 23,000 passengers per hour in each direction…and could be increased to 30000 in the future.

4000 persons per hour in each direction  vs 20000 (or 30000 in future) in each direction….which one will have a better impact on public movement in the Petaling Jaya area.

The statement also failed to mention that a Petaling Jaya North-south Rapid Transit line would also interconnect with 5 (yes 5!) other rapid transit lines…the Ampang LRT in Kinrara, the KTM Komuter in PJ Old Town, the Federal Highway BRT at the Jalan Timur interchange, the Kelana Jaya LRT Line at Taman Jaya, and the MRT Line 1 in Section 16.

Still not convinced that the public transport option is better for this corridor than a 2-lane elevated highway? Or maybe you think that public transport is a money loosing venture that will require perpetual subsidy? Then check out the two articles below:

KIDEX to borrow 80% of Kinrara-Damansara Expressway cost (Focus Malaysia, April 4, 2014)

The article above essentially describes the financial plan set up by the shareholders in the company responsible for KiDEx. The takeaway message from this article is that expressway construction is less about transportation and networks and more about profit making…or subsidy from the government…as expressed in the article below:

Only five highway operators make money (Malaysiakini.com April 7, 2014)

There’s not much we can say in response to that, can we? Toll expressways are built for profits but they are not profitable. You, the people,  end up subsidizing the losses, either through backdoor payments from the government in lieu of toll increases, or through the health and social effects of traffic congestion.

TRANSIT Says:

TRANSIT is pleased to see that objections to the proposed KiDEx “skyway” are starting to mount. We urge you, our readers, to support the call for a rapid transit line along the proposed alignment, which will potentially make Petaling Jaya the most well-connected city this side of Singapore.

Contact Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San at:

PUSAT KHIDMAT ADUN KAMPUNG TUNKU NO. 24, JALAN 20/9, TAMAN PARAMOUNT, 46300 PETALING JAYA. TEL: +6-03-79544724, FAX: +6-03-79688017, EMAIL: lauwengsan@gmail.com
@lauwengsan

Contact Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran at: @rajiv4malaysia

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