Security fencing gives a ‘trapped‘ feeling

Motorists park along the security fencing, blocking the openings to allow pedestrians to get onto the walkway, forcing them to take the longer route.

MORE than 40km of security fencing that was put up by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in various parts of the city are not serving its intended purpose as city folk are forced to walk on the road because of the project’s poor execution.

Netizens point out that the fences are impractical and are actually causing congestion and endangering pedestrians.

They also note that the barricades hamper road users’ movements and slow them down.

People are urging the authorities to install more zebra crossings and traffic-light junctions instead of barricades that slow them down.

“In some parts of Brickfields, the fencing is such a hassle and it makes my journey all the more tiresome,” said Samuel Raj, a consultant working at KL Sentral.

Pedestrians also complained that the steel fencing made them feel “trapped” and hampered their movements.

A tactile walkway meant for the blind leads straight to a steel barrier. — Photos: P. NATHAN and NORAFIFI EHSAN/The Star
A tactile walkway meant for the blind leads straight to a steel barrier. — Photos: P. NATHAN and NOR AFIFI EHSAN/The Star

For example, pedestrians who use the walkway along Nu Sentral heading to Little India and the Shell building in Jalan Tun Sambanthan, were forced to walk an extra few hundred metres on a detour to get to the other side of the road.

“That fence should not be there,” said an irate resident of Palm Court. “It makes no sense to have it at this location,” he added.

Compounding the problem were motorists parking illegally along the barricades and blocking the entrances to pedestrian bridges and buildings.

The situation is rampant along Jalan Raja Laut in front of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) headquarters.

Pedestrians are forced to take a longer route to get into Menara DBKL 1 because illegally parked vehicles blocked the fence’s opening onto the footpath leading to the government building.

StarMetro visited the location and observed the situation for two hours.

The steel fences in Brickfields are hampering pedestrians movements.
The steel fences in Brickfields are hampering pedestrians' movements.

Many pedestrians had to walk a few hundred metres to get to their destination because they were obstructed by cars parked on the roadside.

“It is annoying,” said Cheras resident Reena Bai.

“I took the LRT to get into the city centre and walked from the Masjid Jamek station to the City Hall building.

“Firstly, I could not get onto the walkway because of the stretch of fencing, then when I found an opening in the fence, it was blocked by a car.

“The driver was inside but he was oblivious to the problem he was causing,” she said.

Reena also highlighted the problem of motorcyclists using pedestrian walkways.

“I found myself dodging motorcycles along the footpath so it really defeats the purpose of having nice walkways if there is no enforcement against errant bikers.

“And it was happening right in front of City Hall headquarters!” she added.

A motorcyclist ignores the sign on a walkway in Kuala Lumpur that prioritises pedestrians.
A motorcyclist ignores the sign on a walkway in Kuala Lumpur that prioritises pedestrians.

Fikri Mohd, who worked across the street from DBKL, said the fences did not prevent people from jaywalking.

“Jaywalking is still prevalent because there is no enforcement, so the fence is a waste of money,” he said.

DBKL project management executive director Datuk A. Thomas Richards explained that the barricades were put in place to deter snatch theft and was part of the “Safe City” programme under the National Key Result Area (NKRA) to reduce crime.

“Our priority has always been safety.

“There were cases of snatch thefts in the city before the fences were up, and we came up with the design to deter that (snatch theft).

“The fences were built to make it difficult for snatch thieves to strike, and at the same time the security feature was meant to prevent jaywalking,” he said.

He disclosed that almost 50km of fencing was built in Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Dang Wangi, KLCC and other busy areas.

He said the barricades were also placed at pedestrian bridges without signalised traffic lights.

“If we do not fence it up, people run across the streets and that defeats the purpose of building the bridge,” he added.

“At LRT and monorail stations, we build sophisticated bridges and lifts, but the purpose is defeated if people do not use these facilities.

“Our priority will always be the safety of pedestrians.

“It (the fences) may be a hassle but safety is our priority,” said Richards.

He said regulations required a footpath to be at least 1.5m wide before DBKL put up the fence but in some areas, if space permitted, landscaping features would be included to beautify the site.

“Our target under the programme is 42km and our KPI is about 11km per year, and we have managed to achieve that in the last five years,” he said, adding that the programme stopped after the Government funding ended.

The “Safe City” programme comprised six initiatives covering streetlighting, closed-circuit television cameras and pedestrian walkways, carried out by DBKL’s Town Planning Department under the local authority’s physical planning unit.

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