It's a DBKL beautification project, but residents upset at not being consulted

DBKL pedestrain walkway project unfriedly to the blind community.

A MULTI-MILLION ringgit beautification project involving Jalan Scott right up until Jalan Tebing in Brickfields has irked stakeholders who claim they were not consulted before it was given the go-ahead by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

Several temple management committees, apartment dwellers and the business community in the area claim they would be directly affected by the project if it went ahead, as it will not only take away more than 20 parking bays but will increase traffic in the area.

Also, the stakeholders say some of the roads would be narrowed to accommodate the project, which would lead to a gridlock.

The Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB), which has been adversely affected by the project that started six months ago, said its members were forced to walk on broken pavements with missing tactile blocks. Some of the blind pedestrians even walked into the plastic barricades set up to facilitate the project.

MAB senior executive for accessibility and advocacy Siti Huraiza said that no one from DBKL consulted the association until it was too late.

“To be fair, after the Brickfields Rukun Tetangga and the LA21 group highlighted the matter, City Hall did talk to us,” she said.

The project, River of Life Package 4B, involves widening and beautifying pedestrian walkways along Jalan Scott, Jalan Tun Sambanthan 4, Jalan Thambipillay, Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad and Jalan Tebing. It also includes building seating benches along the way.

“We found it strange that the disabled community were not consulted about the project as it is crucial to us that the design is disabled friendly,” Siti said.

“DBKL told us it was using a universal design that was disabled friendly, which is why they did not consult us.

"We are also unhappy that when DBKL began the project, it did take into account the safety of the visually impaired community in the township.

“Every day, MAB staff and members are faced with one barrier or another. It does not help when the tactile blocks are destroyed and there are obstructions on every stretch of the footpath,” she said. Sree Veera Hanuman Temple president Suresh Maniam said the congestion and the lack of parking space was a big problem in Jalan Scott, which has four temples in a row.

“During the weekend, the crowd swells up to 3,000 in my temple alone and during festivals or when it is the wedding season, the number triples,” he said.

“The reserve bay meant for school buses to drop off students living in Scott Sentral Service Suite has been taken up for the project.

“Now buses will have to stop in the middle of the road and it’s not safe,” the condo’s representative Chandra Ram Prakash added.

“We are not happy about this want to know why there was no consultation before hand,” he reiterated.

Brickfields RT chairman S.K.K Naidu said that despite a belated explanation from DBKL, it would seem many stakeholders in area are not happy.

“The idea of the project is appealing and we are not against it; but there are some points brought up by residents that need to be addressed,” he said.

Some residents are also against the flower stall project that is coming up along a pedestrian walkway along Jalan Scott.

“We question the necessity for these flower shops. The temples here already have stalls providing devotees flowers,” Suresh said.

“It’s unnecessary to take up precious pedestrian walkways. Whey were the residents not consulted?” he asked, adding that many were disappointed in DBKL.

When contacted, DBKL project management executive director Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah said he has met the residents to hear their concerns.

“I went down to the ground and listened to their concerns. We will be re-looking at the plans as there is a possibility that areas with less pedestrian traffic may not need as wide a walking path, and the parking bays can be maintained.

“But the residents have to look at the bigger picture. We want to encourage more people to walk and doing away with parking bays is just something we are moving towards,” he said.

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