Long-awaited facelift

Lack of parking bays: Among the rejuvenation plans is a proposal to redraw the parking bays around Jalan SS2/64 (above), SS2/61 and SS2/62.

ALTHOUGH talk about redeveloping parts of SS2’s bustling commercial centre has been around since a couple of years back, it is only now that some of the plans are becoming concrete, literally.

A two-month-old sub-committee, set up by Petaling Jaya city councillor for SS2 Lee Suet Sen, is studying several issues affecting the commercial area and how best to rejuvenate it.

Each of Petaling Jaya’s sections have a business area which used to fulfil the business and shopping needs for the nearby residential areas.

However, as neighbourhood malls mushroom and become a permanent feature in the Klang Valley, these business areas are beginning to see a decline as businesses move out due to less traffic.

Aside from three ongoing works in SS2’s central park, the sub-committee, which includes the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) Engineering, Planning, Environmental Health and Landscape departments, is also looking into 10 other issues on how to improve the commercial area’s condition.

Housing the hawkers One major issue is that of illegal hawkers operating in the SS2 morning market, which stretches along Jalan SS2/62, and how best to tackle the problems of legalising and housing such traders.

Licensed morning market traders have alleged that the illegal traders are undercutting their business as the latter are not paying lot rental and waste collection fee, while adding to the growing mound of waste at the council dumpsite.

Lee said the council was aware of the problem, adding that there had been previous plans and efforts to improve the situation for both licensed and unlicensed traders.

“There had been a plan mooted to demolish the current Medan Selera SS2 food court and build a double-storey structure in its place, where the upper storey will house food hawkers and the ground floor will be for the market traders,” he said.

Previous SS2 councillor Tony Cheong had mooted such a building, which would have also included the “Ibumie” hawkers across the Sea Park police station, but the plan never got off ground.

“Building a larger structure would have allowed us to house all traders, who would now be licensed, in a fairer manner, rather than the unlicensed traders blocking off the licensed ones by setting up stalls outside the designated lots,” Lee explained.

If the market and food court structure do not materialise, an alternative is to turn Jalan SS2/62 into a covered street market akin to Petaling Street and other similar locations oversees.

Sources revealed to StarMetro currently considering both options.

Meanwhile, a more immediate solution is being taken to help solve the rubbish problem, which hawkers and customers have been raising a stink about.

The dump, located behind the food court, was intended for only market traders, Medan Selera SS2 as well as “Ibumie” hawkers.

“But there are outsiders coming here to throw their garbage and overloading the bins, so this is an immediate issue which the council’s Engineering Department is trying to resolve,” said Lee.

Department director Ismail Shafie said the total cost of rebuilding the designated rubbish site is RM65,300.

Model toilet 

Similarly, the current councilrun washrooms, located in Jalan SS2/63, will be demolished once construction of a “model washroom” on the other side of the park is completed.

“The new toilet, measuring 211 sq m is estimated to cost RM230,000, will feature a host of amenities such as a surau, utility room, nursing room and a disabled-friendly cubicle,” said Ismail.

Cheong said the washroom with accompanying amenities was also previously mooted, first in 2012, but was rejected by Petaling Jaya’s then-mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad.

It was proposed a second time and approved in 2013. The initial budget of approximately RM400,000 was halved to its current amount, although the cost is still cheaper than similar facilities in other states,” said Cheong.

Traffic situation

One major problem and the bane of all who visit the area is its congested roads, a situation Lee is hoping to change by proposing that MBPJ re-examine its parking space layout in the commercial area.

“A reason for the traffic congestion here is because of cars circling about looking for a parking space. In some parts of the commercial area, we have allotted more space for parking, especially with the current herring-bone system along Jalan SS2/64,” he said, adding that if successful, it would add another 70 bays.

Tied in with this is a 1.08ha piece of vacant land in Jalan SS2/64 owned by Sea Housing Corporation Sdn Bhd.

Lee said negotiations were in progress to encourage the owners to either develop the land or possibly lease it.

In the latter case, he said MBPJ was mulling the option of operating a parking lot to further alleviate the parking problem in this commercial centre.

Lighting up the area

Engineering solutions aside, the authorities’ plans to turn SS2’s commercial area into a popular destination also involves art, such as the recent wall-art competition organised by MBPJ alongside the Damansara Utama assemblyman’s office.

Currently, nine pieces of wall art decorate certain side lanes around the commercial district.

Additionally, MBPJ is looking at lighting up the back alleys, a move Lee said depended on the 2015 Budget.

“If the funds allow, we will go ahead this year, otherwise, we will submit it by August for inclusion in next year’s budget,” said Lee.

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