SHOPPERS and business owners along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) in Kuala Lumpur are divided on the recent move by Kuala Lumpur City Hall to close the main road to traffic from Jalan Esfahan junction to Jalan Melayu junction during weekends on a one-month trial.
Shoppers felt the move to limit the 500m stretch of Jalan TAR just for pedestrians on Saturdays and Sundays would offer a safer environment for them while shopowners felt the closure would affect their earnings.
“I came here by LRT so it does not affect me much but without private vehicles on the road, I felt it is easier and safer to cross the road.
“It is also good to allow public transport on the road so people can get here easily using bus or taxi,” said Juwita Safian, 40.
Another shopper Zurina Omar, 47, said the road closure was manageable.
“I used to park near Jalan TAR whenever I came her to shop, but yesterday I had no choice but to park in Campbell Complex along Jalan Dang Wangi.
“I do not mind the walk although it is a bit troublesome,” she said.
Jalan TAR was closed effective April 6, from 8am until midnight, on weekends throughout the month.
During the closure, only buses, taxis, Fire and Rescue vehicles, ambulances, police and enforcement vehicles will be able to use the stretch.
Traffic jam was seen around the area on Saturday, also partly due to several road closures around the area to facilitate the Tour de Langkawi cycling championship.
At the site, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officers were seen directing traffic from the unclosed stretch of Jalan TAR to Jalan Esfahan.
Some motorists were unaware about the road closure and were seen asking for directions while some stopped near the barricade to drop off their passengers.
Meanwhile, business owners along Jalan TAR are unhappy with the closure, saying that it drove their customers away.
Gedung Kamdar store manager Ng Hang Kuan said shoppers would find it easier to drop off and pick up using the main road.
“Most of the time they buy in bulk and the goods will be too heavy for them to carry if their cars are parked far.
“Also, it is convenient to drop off elderly customers in front of the shops so that they do not have to walk too far.
“The road closure is definitely an inconvenience to our customers and will affect our business if the closure is permanent,” he said.
Ng also said that on Saturday, during the rain several cars used the stretch when it was supposed to be closed to private vehicles.
“They managed to get in, maybe because DBKL traffic wardens who were directing traffic had to abort their duties due to the downpour.
“Cars filled up the road in front of the store very quickly and customers managed to buy their goods.
“I also saw several customers carrying their heavy load of purchases to their cars parked at a nearby building complex.
Osman House of Exclusive Fabrics owner Mohd Anis Osman Bhoy said none of his regular customers came to the shop on Saturday.
“My clients are those who like to drive here in their cars.
“Now that the road is closed to traffic, my shop is empty.
“Usually there are regulars who come to the store on weekends,” he said, adding that he was unhappy with the closure.
Batu Road Retailers Association vice-president Datin Rohana Mohammad Nasir said stalls and food trucks occupying Lorong TAR should be relocated as agreed by DBKL during the meeting with all stakeholders.
“Private cars should have more access to Lorong TAR, but traders and food truck operators are still operating there.
“This obstruct the shopowners when they unload and load their goods, while lorries find it hard to pass through the road.
“DBKL should act against traders who do not move from Lorong TAR. Some of them are illegal traders,” she added.
Rohana said that she received feedback from one of the hotels that they had a few cancellations due to the road closure.
“This is because their hotel guests would shop nearby but tour agents are lost as they do not know where to drop off their guests because of the road closure.
“If they opt to stay in a hotel around Jalan TAR, they would end up having to walk with their luggage for 500m and this is certainly something that will make the guests consider staying somewhere else,” she said.