Car-free day kicks off in Shah Alam

(From left) K Ng, Jenshen and Shuwen roller blading together during the Shah Alam Car-Free Day in Dataran Kemerdekaan.

MORE than 1,000 people took part in Shah Alam City Council’s (MBSA) inaugural Car-Free Day event.

Participants arrived at 6.30am in Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam, brimming with enthusiasm and dressed in their best sports gear to ride bicycles, roller blades and skateboard around the 5km route.

Nine-year-old Jenshen Ng from Kota Damansara was all smiles while roller blading with his father Ng Teik Hin, 60, and sister Shuwen Ng, 18.

“My father promised that he would learn to rollerblade so that he can skate with me.

“He kept his promise and he is pretty good at it, but I am still faster than him,” chuckled Jenshen.

His father, Ng said the Car-Free Day event was a good opportunity for his family to get to know the city, regardless of how they chose to move about.

“We make time to exercise as a family every week.

“I chose to come here instead of the park, because it give us a chance to see the sights in Shah Alam, like around the Blue Mosque and the Lake Gardens.

“While we were skating around, my wife and eldest daughter were jogging along the route as well,” he said.

Scheduled to be held every second Sunday of the month, the first Shah Alam Car-Free Day was a festive affair with food trucks, buskers and lion dance performance in conjunction with the upcoming Chinese New Year.

Roads that were closed for the event were Persiaran Bandaraya, Persiaran Perbandaran, Persiaran Tasik, Persiaran Masjid, Persiaran Dato’ Menteri and Persiaran Damai from 6.30am to 9am.

Attracting attention among the participants was Section 27 resident Naim Hashim who was seen cycling with his two year old son, Eizuddin, in a cart behind his bicycle.

“It is a lot more convenient for my five children and me to cycle together here because the lanes are a lot wider, ” he said.

Emulating the spirit of European cities as well as the Kuala Lumpur Car-Free Day, deputy mayor Shukri Mohamad Hamin said the monthly event was open to everyone including those living outside Shah Alam.

“We want more people to join the event especially residents from other areas in Klang Valley.

“This is one way for us to reduce carbon emission in the city and also encourage more people to exercise with their families and friends,” he said.

Hoping to kickstart a bicycle riding culture in Shah Alam, Public Bike Share set up a booth to show participants how their bike sharing facility and service was carried out in Malacca and how it can be implemented in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam.

Public Bike Share urban planner James Speirs said the initiative could be more successful if more bike lanes were linked to the mass transit terminals.

“The existing bicycle lanes in Shah Alam are shared pavements with pedestrians, which is an excellent way to encourage more people to move around without their cars. The next step forward is to have more of these lanes connected to the nearest KTM station, to enable people to cycle to work, ” he said.

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