Expert: Removing traffic light will not end congestion

Safe to cross: Pedestrians crossing at the traffic light junction between Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang. The traffic light is green for 61 seconds to allow pedestrians to cross Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang. - Photo by SHAARI CHE MAT/STAR

TRAFFIC congestion problems in Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang will not be solved only by removing a traffic light as there are other factors to consider, said MMC Gamuda KVMRT Sdn Bhd (MGKT).

MGKT is the main contractor for the ongoing underground MRT project at the location.

Its public relations and communications head Dr Bhavani Krishna Iyer said the traffic light at the junction of the two roads was managed by MMC-Gamuda to facilitate smooth construction works.

“We recommend that the traffic light remains for better traffic management,” she said.

On April 30, StarMetro reported Bukit Bintang traders blaming the traffic light’s lack of synchrony causing traffic to slow down and congestion which supposedly led to loss of customers.

MRT project construction manager Choo Keng Loong said removing the traffic light would in fact endanger pedestrians crossing both roads.

“Bukit Bintang is a tourist heavy area and there are many pedestrians,” he said, adding that traffic congestion was actually due to haphazard parking by motorists along both sides of the stretch of roads.

“Even if the traffic light is removed, people will continue to park illegally reducing the lanes to only one,” added Choo during a media walkabout on Wednesday.

Choo also said that if the traffic light was removed, pedestrians from Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang would have to walk for 400m along Jalan Sultan Ismail and then to cross over to Jalan Bukit Bintang.

“There is no other correct way for pedestrians to cross.

“But people may not follow this route and force their way across the busy road,” he said, adding that such behaviour would likely cause traffic accidents.

Bukit Bintang MRT assistant construction manager Ooi Aik Hong, 51, who had been stationed at the site since 2012, said he had seen people crossing the road without waiting for the light to turn green.

“If there is no traffic light, the situation might be worse,” he said.

Frequent pedestrian and masseuse Jue Karingal, 44, said with the traffic light, cars would not speed.

“I will not walk all the way to Jalan Sultan Ismail just to cross the road, it will be so inconvenient especially if I am rushing to work,” said salesman Surjit Khan, 33.

StarMetro monitored the traffic intervals of the traffic light and with corroboration from MGKT, it was identified that the traffic light signalled green for pedestrians to cross for 34 seconds from the Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang junction to Jalan Bukit Bintang.

If the traffic light was removed, pedestrians would have to endure a long walk and four pedestrian crossings with differing intervals (as shown in map) to get to the other side of the road.

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