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Wednesday June 30, 2010

Getting connected in KL

SEVERAL sheltered pedestrian walkways that will connect LRT stations with various buildings in Kuala Lumpur are expected to be completed before the end of the year.

There are six walkways that will be built and the projects are being undertaken by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana).

The walkways will reduce the number of people crossing roads and provide easy access from one place to another.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Urban Transportation Department director Dr Leong Siew Mun said the covered and uncovered walkways, some of which were elevated, had already been planned and were in different stages of construction.

Work in progress: A pedestrian walking past the elevated walkway that is being built to connect Impiana KLCC Hotel and the KL Convention Centre.

Dr Leong was one of the speakers at the two-day public information and stakeholders workshop for the Kuala Lumpur Draft City Plan 2010 themed “Greenery and Quality of City Life” that began on Monday.

The workshop was opened by the Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Fuad Ismail.

Earlier, Ahmad Fuad said 5,052 objections were received covering 62,224 issues that had been considered by the public hearing committee, based on the draft city plan 2020 that was displayed for viewing between May to August 2008.

“Currently, DBKL is preparing the amendments to the draft city plan 2020 that takes into consideration public opinion and proposals in the reports,” he said.

“The Federal Territories Act (planning) 1982 (Act 267) provides for just a one-time public hearing.

“However, DBKL is taking initiatives to expand public involvement through various workshops like this one, before the draft plan is finalised.

“We had the first workshop with the residents’ representatives in April about efforts to improve the quality of life in Kuala Lumpur.

“This was followed by the public transportation workshop last month, discussing the development of an efficient transportation system.”

The next few workshops to be held until August will touch on subjects relevant to the amendments of the draft plan such as sustainable quality environment, development control plan — zoning and categories of land usage, as well as an integrated public transportation.

Dr Leong, in his paper presentation, said the Prasarana would build an elevated walkway connecting the Plaza Rakyat LRT station to the Cahaya Suria building, an At-Grade walkway from the Hang Tuah monorail station to the Al-Bukhary mosque, an elevated walkway from the PWTC LRT station to Hentian Putra, an At-Grade and elevated walkway from the Sultan Ismail LRT station to the Medan Tuanku monorail station as well as from Jalan Sultan Ismail to Raja Laut, a walkway linking Bandaraya LRT station to Menara DBKL 1 in Jalan Raja Laut, and an elevated walkway at the Pasar Seni LRT station.

“Covered walkways can be completed by this year but the elevated ones will be ready by next year.

“DBKL will also be calling for tender for the construction of the pedestrian linkage and covered walkway in Bukit Bintang which would connect Berjaya Times Square, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.”

He added that an elevated walkway from Impiana KLCC Hotel to the KL Convention Centre was expected to be completed between February and March next year.

The workshop was attended by about 300 participants made up of residents associations, professional institutions, universities, NGOs and also MPs.

Others present were the DBKL director-general Datuk Salleh Yusup and City Hall department directors.

During the first question session opened to the floor, some residents commended the construction of the elevated walkways.

However, they asked if considerations could be made to include escalators for the elderly and those in poor health.

“The escalator can stop if there is no one using it, which saves electricity,” said another resident.

Another participant asked why motorcycle lanes were not constructed, citing that many motorcyclists were dicing with danger as they were “forced” to use the main roads with other heavy vehicles since there were no dedicated lanes for them.

Local government expert Derek Fernandez, who was among the audience, said under the National Physical Plan, the requirement for open space for each person was 20 sq metres.

“You cannot have private golf courses included as part of the public open space calculation since the normal public cannot afford access into these courses. Hence, it is not fair,” he said.

“And, here we are talking about conservation of green areas yet you are going against the policy, what with private developments on KL’s side of Bukit Gasing.

“Why can’t the DBKL put a stop to it? There are many animals now like monkeys and snakes entering people’s homes simply because their habitat has been invaded.”

Among the speakers were AJM Planning and Urban Design Group Sdn Bhd managing director Norliza Hashim; DBKL landscaping and urban cleaning control department director Saharuddin Mohd Noh; DBKL petty traders management and development department director Ramly Othman; Malaysia Institute of Planning committee member Mohd Ahyat Tahir and several lecturers from universities.

Norliza touched on river beautification for a pleasant walking trail.

She talked about making the walking experience more interesting and less tiring and the need for an interblock connector in Bukit Bintang area to create shortcuts.

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