Selangor Government makes unwise decision to proceed with study of elevated highway through Petaling Jaya

TRANSIT took note of the unfortunate news that the Selangor Government will move ahead with studies for the Kinrara Damansara Expressway, also known as KiDEx or the KiDEx “skyway” (a falsely romanticized name just as false as the pictures on their website)

Selangor approves studies on plan for elevated highway, KiDEx (The Malay Mail, 11 April 2014)

The Selangor state government has approved studies to be conducted on the controversial Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (KIDEX) project, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today.

The Selangor mentri besar also said that public hearings will be held once the studies are completed.

The project has come under heavy criticism from residents worried about pollution and the lack of publicly available details.

TRANSIT Says:


Although the article says that the heavy criticism comes from worries about pollution and the lack of details, we at TRANSIT wonder if there is something more happening here…that people are becoming frustrated with a Selangor state government (and the component parties within that government) that simply rubber stamps development with having proper masterplanning or doing complete and holistic studies.

They have already done this with the LRT extensions to Putra Heights as well as the MRT network. Indeed, at the State Assembly Khalid said:

We accept the principle that the building of the highway is necessary, but it must be done wisely and carefully to protect public interest”.

TRANSIT Says:

Principle? What principle exists here beyond a desire to spend more money on the “all-important” dream of traffic dispersal and reducing traffic congestion (which is simply impossible given that adding road capacity encourages more driving which fills up the road capacity)? Khalid is beginning to present himself as an unfortunately foolhardy public ‘leader’ who appears to have decided to limit discussion of all options while claiming to have the public interest in hand.

It is doubly unfortunate that many of the ADUN questioning the KiDEx ‘skyway’ are going to great lengths to say that they support more highways but not this particular highway, not because of the highway itself but because of problems with the company or information delivery.

What have we become when our wakil rakyat are are afraid to speak the truth … that this elevated ‘skyway’ will cut a destructive swath through the centre of Petaling Jaya for little reason except to move cars from one place to another.

And more importantly why aren’t we telling the wakil rakyat that there is no need for this highway or many of the other highways being built in and around the Klang Valley … and that public transport is the real solution to move large numbers of people and goods.

The projected cost of the KiDEx “Skyway” is RM2.42 billion for 14.9 km. That is more than RM162 million per km, well over the cost of rapid transit options which could move between 3-6 times as many people as the proposed “skyway”…occupy less space and produce far less visual and air pollution too.

For reference and comparison:

Bus Rapid Transit (Fully elevated) line – RM75-100 million / km – capacity 4,000-6,000 passengers per hour in each direction (based on 65 passengers per bus)

Monorail Line – RM75-85 million / km – capacity of 5,000-10,000 passengers per hour in each direction (based on 200 passengers per train)

LRT/MRT Line – RM175-200 million / km – capacity of 20,000-40,000 passengers per hour in each direction (based on 800 passengers per train)

Compare that to the average highway lane, which can move approximately 900-1200 cars per hour. If we generously assume the KiDEx highway’s 2 lanes can move 2000 cars per hour in each direction (though it really cannot) and the average car has 1.5 people in it (though most do not), we see that the highway can barely move around 3,000 people per hour in each direction…not much value for money at a cost of RM162 million per km.

And we haven’t even factored in the effects of congestion at interchanges backing up to the highway deck or the possibilities of collisions on the highway deck…or the health effects of air pollution (particulate matter from vehicle exhausts) which can spread further since it is higher up in the air…or the visual pollution of the 2 lanes “skyway” (don’t forget the on and off ramps).

Still think elevated highways are necessary additions to our cities? We certainly don’t.

Wakil Rakyat representing all areas of Petaling Jaya need to speak out against the Kinrara Damansara Expressway and in favour of rapid transit options instead. The rapid transit options will cost far less than the highway, move far more people, and build a public transport network for residents of Petaling Jaya to be truly proud of.

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