Big plans mapped out for Little India

Cars parked along Jalan Tengku Kelana blocking one lane and hampering traffic flow. — Photos: CHAN TAK KONG and KK SHAM/The Star

SHORTAGE of street parking is one of the main issues affecting Klang’s Little India in Selangor.

Little India is a business enclave that stretches from Jalan Raya Timur to Jalan Taliair, and Jalan Istana to Jalan Bukit Jawa.

It attract a lot of shoppers and tourists.

However, insufficient parking in the area often results in motorists parking illegally along Jalan Dato Hamzah, Jalan Tengku Diaudin, Jalan Mohet and the main thoroughfare of Jalan Tengku Kelana, which leads to congestion.

Such indiscriminate parking hinders free traffic flow and increases the occurrence of near-misses and accidents.

Klang Municipal Council’s (MPK) Corporate Communications Department director Norfiza Mahfiz said more than 100 cars a month were towed from Little India, bringing it to a total of 1,796 cars last year.

“Last year, MPK towed 762 cars from along Jalan Tengku Kelana, while 369 were from Jalan Mohet, 249 in Jalan Dato Hamzah and 215 in Jalan Tengku Diaudin.

“From January until May, 900 cars were towed from the same areas.”

Norfiza said the top three areas where cars were towed were Jalan Tengku Kelana (308), Jalan Tengku Diaudin (158) and Jalan Dato Hamzah (125).

For each car towed by the local council, the owner is served with a compound of RM300 and a towing fee of RM100.

Entrepreneurs Association of Little India Klang president Charles Manickam, 56, said, “Our association feels it is time MPK constructed a multistorey carpark.

“We need to eliminate the haphazard roadside parking.”

He said the association proposed a piece of vacant land off Jalan Tengku Kelana be used.

“Our association members have suggested that a five-storey carpark be built on vacant government land sandwiched between Lorong Tingkat and Jalan Pegawai, where the former Klinik Ibu dan Kanak-Kanak used to be before it was razed in a July 2018 fire,” he added.

2105421_2812105421_281Charles suggested that MPK acquire the land from the Federal Government for the carpark purpose.

He said flower vendors operating near the vacant land could be housed on the carpark’s ground floor and additional space could be offered to youths interested in starting a business.

Businessman Michael Lim Kum Loke, 75, who deals in bicycles and electrical appliances, said the local council should consider the proposal.

“Shoppers would be able to park their cars and walk to the shops in the area.

“Having the vacant land turned into a multistorey carpark would generate revenue for MPK,” he pointed out.

Textile merchant N. Ravi Chandran, 59, said the ground floor of the parking facility could be a trading area, while the first to fourth floor would be used for the carpark and an open-air cafe on the top floor.

Ravi said that while MPK was mulling over the multistorey carpark proposal, it could provide approval for the land to be used as a parking lot from 8.30am to 11pm.

Malaysian Indian Textiles and General Stores Association secretary-general Datin Maheswary Ramasamy said, “Little India sees a sizeable number of tourists from other states.

“Due to insufficient designated parking bays, people park along Jalan Tengku Kelana and then their cars get towed away.

“Recently a tourist from Johor Baru, who parked along Jalan Tengku Kelana, had his car towed off.

“We need to have sufficient parking spaces to save visitors from having such unpleasant experiences,” she emphasised.

Maheswary said Little India was an economic engine for the town and Selangor, so it would be wise for MPK to provide basic amenities that would further attract people to Klang and boost business.

Charles also suggested a one-way traffic system be implemented in Jalan Tengku Kelana, to reduce traffic congestion.

“We want the 350m stretch from the Jalan Tengku Diaudin-Jalan Tengku Kelana junction to the junction of Jalan Taliair to be turned into a one-way street so that cars can park at designated bays on both sides of the road,” he highlighted.

He said the proposed one-way route would enable those coming from Musaedin Bridge to turn left while motorists from Jalan Tengku Diaudin could turn right into Jalan Tengku Kelana or go left towards Musaedin Bridge.

“Motorists coming from the Simpang Lima roundabout would have to turn into Jalan Taliair and enter Jalan Tengku Diaudin via Jalan Mohet, before turning right into the 350m stretch of Jalan Tengku Kelana,” he said.

The area sees a lot of tourists and if MPK were to improve the infrastructure in Little India to make it pedestrian-friendly, it would encourage tourists to spend more time there, added Charles.

“It would be good to have wider pedestrian walkways as well as remove the road median and textured cobblestone pavers to make the streets safer.

“MPK should widen the existing pavement to 3.05m to ease movement and allow wheelchairs and prams to access Jalan Tengku Kelana,” he said.

Charles said the pedestrian walkways must be shaded from the sun and wide enough with zebra crossings at multiple points.

Norfiza said MPK encouraged the Entrepreneurs Association of Little India Klang to submit a written proposal to the council on the improvements needed by the business community.

“The proposal would need to be raised at the Health, Social and Sustainable Development sub-committee meeting in mid-July.”

She said a decision could only be made through consultation at the sub-committee meeting.

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