Cheerful: Well-main tain ed back alleys with colourful mur als pain ted on walls cr eate a s afe walk for people. — Photo by M. AZHAR ARIF
PUBLIC spaces in the city centre are mostly areas where city folk like to gather to mingle and spend their leisure time.
Knowing the importance of having such spaces, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has embarked on a programme to reclaim public spaces under its PJ Liveable City@Section 52 to improve city living for its residents.
As a pilot project, Jalan Tengah in Section 52 of Petaling Jaya New Town has been turned into a permanent pedestrian mall to allow people to walk with ease at any time of the day.
At the same time, the number of parking lots had to be reduced to make way for the pedestrian mall.
MBPJ urban planning development director Sharifah Marhaini Syed Ali said pedestrians provided economic benefits to businesses and helped preserve the environment when they did not drive.
“Our aim is to minimise vehicular traffic dominance and carve out the Central Business Area (CBA) as a cultural centre and a ‘people-place’.
“We need to have such an enclave to balance out the upcoming development of PJ Sentral,” she said, adding that the latter was a mixed development project off Jalan Barat.
“It is a plus point for the real estate market too as the value of properties located along pedestrian malls will go up.
“Lighted paths, closed-circuit television cameras, functional street furniture and boulevards at such pedestrian malls have proven to have increased the value of properties.
Decorative pathways and well-maintained back alleys with colourful murals painted on walls also create a safe walk for people,” she added.
Sharifah also said a slip road was closed at the Boulevard outside the PJ State Cinema, to accommodate informal and formal social events.
“Our aim is to improve people’s access and movement.
“The multi-level parking lots at Complex A and C in the area will be lit up at night for people to park their vehicles and walk to the CBA.
“We have also defined road crossings for the benefit of senior citizens, the visually impaired and motorists,” she added.
City council Urban Planning Development assistant director Norhisam Hussain hoped people would use the free city bus plying Petaling Jaya New Town to help reduce traffic congestion.
MBPJ has also created 600 new parking bays next to the Asia Jaya LRT station to enable car owners to park their vehicles and take the train.
Currently, these commuters are parking their cars along the main roads and side roads nearby.
Sharifah said the city council was also planning to have covered walkways linking Petaling Jaya New Town to parts of Section 9, 10 and 14.