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Monday July 30, 2007

Skybridge plan to mall lauded


THE mayor of Kuala Lumpur's recent announcement to build a modern skybridge linking Abdullah Hukum’s light rail transit station in Bangsar to the Mid Valley Megamall as a means to ease congestion seems like a noble idea, yet transport and town planners say the whole structure of the station must be re-designed for this to work. Experts also say that Kuala Lumpur City Hall should look at the big picture and consider integrating a transit hub in the area if there is ever a hope of seeing city folks opting to use public transport to work

IMAGINE a transit hub - something akin to Kuala Lumpur Sentral only much smaller in scale that would serve as a link to Mid Valley Megamall, KL Sentral and other parts of the city in Kampong Haji Abdullah Hukum near Pantai Dalam?  

»Anything more than 250m must be pedestrian-friendly. In other words, the bridge must have escalators, be air-conditioned and have enough retail activity along the way to give it that indoor feeling« GOH BOK YEN
Apart from the LRT station, there should also be a second KTM line and probably even Monorail with facilities like a bus bay and car park for the public to park their vehicles and take the train.  

Having an integrated system like this would be a much better bet for DBKL to fight congestion and persuade the public to opt for public transport when coming to work into the city.  

Private traffic consultant Goh Bok Yen commended the mayor for proposing the Skybridge project to link the Abdullah Hukum LRT station to Mid Valley Megamall but said that it must be carried out with much thought and research. 

Goh said the concept of linking the station and the mall with a 300m bridge was a good one, but it would only work if the station were able to take in the capacity of the crowd - or else it needs to be re-designed as the current capacity for the station is inadequate.  

“Firstly you need a suitable location that is big enough to be a landing gateway to handle a big crowd and Abdullah Hukum is not big enough for that,” he said, adding that it must be expanded to handle a big volume. 

Goh said without proper research, the bridge would be just another inlet for LRT users. 

“And would people want to go to the mall and return via the bridge with a bag full of groceries from Carrefour and then take the LRT?,” he asked, before saying that he didn’t think so.  

Goh also said that for the Skybridge project to work, a certain volume of pedestrian was needed.  

For a 300m bridge to be pedestrian friendly it must have a width of more than 5m - anything less just won’t do. 

“Anything more than 250m must be pedestrian-friendly. In other words it must have escalators, be air-conditioned and have enough retail activity along the way to give it that indoor feeling. Don’t build something that serves no purpose,” he said.  

Valley of mega buildings: The Abdullah Hukum LRT station amid the Midvalley scenery.
Which is why Goh said that it was important for DBKL to look at the big picture and think long term by balancing up the project by integrating it with transit hub in Abdullah Hukum to ease congestion in the city.  

Town Planning expert Professor Dr Kamaruzzaman Ujang who is working with DBKL on the Skybridge project said that the main idea of the bridge to link the mall to the LRT station was to ease congestion and create a congestion-free KL by 2020.  

“Our discussion is clear that for the bridge to work it must be smooth flowing, air-conditioned and it must be convenient. As for the transit hub - it may work but it must be planned well. We don't want a situation where the area becomes a congestion nightmare in 10 years.  

Retail executive R. Malani, who lives in Kelana Jaya and works in Mid Valley, said the Skybridge project sounded like a good idea and that she would not mind using it to get to her workplace.  

“But it would be better if there were proper parking bays for me to park my car at the station (Abdullah Hukum) and then I can take the Skybridge to work,'' she said.  

“In Kuala Lumpur, the LRT and Monorail system are not designed for park and ride and it's a pity because for a system to truly work it should be integrated - or else why bother doing it,'' said Goh.  

 

  • Tomorrow: What the residents of Kampung Haji Abdullah Hukum think about the major developments taking place in their neighbourhood. 

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