Section 16 to have pedestrian spaces


New features: An artist’s impression of a zebra crossing and walking path from Phileo Damansara MRT station to Section 16 residential area in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

The proposed upgrade to the pedestrian walkway from Phileo Damansara MRT station to nearby Section 16 residential and commercial areas in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, is expected to benefit more than 1,000 commuters daily.

Currently, commuters have to walk on the road or by the roadside in certain stretches to get home or reach the commercial buildings.

The lack of a proper footpath along Jalan 16/15 and parts of Jalan 16/11 poses a problem for pedestrians trying to get to either the houses or Phileo Damansara 1 and 2.

With the upgrade that is expected to start this month, residents and those working in the area will no longer have to dice with danger walking to or from the station.

The move is set to improve the area’s walkability, giving commuters a safe path for first and last mile connectivity.

The proposed pedestrian walkway stretches from the Jalan 17/1 intersection to Phileo Damansara 2.The proposed pedestrian walkway stretches from the Jalan 17/1 intersection to Phileo Damansara 2.

In recent years, concerns have been raised about the poor walkability index between train stations in the city to nearby areas.

The walkability index looks at the functionality, safety, comfort and beauty of a pedestrian route.

If the Section 16 project is successful, there is talk that it could be emulated in other places facing the same problem.

Safer design

Chean Chung has asked Petaling Jaya city councillors to review walkways at other train stations.Chean Chung has asked Petaling Jaya city councillors to review walkways at other train stations.Spearheaded by Petaling Jaya MP Lee Chean Chung, the proposed project sees non-governmental organisation Bike Commute Malaysia (BCMY) putting forward its safer street design ideas for pedestrians.

BCMY is a grassroots organisation consisting of commuter cyclists and urban folk who educate and advocate safer street designs for low carbon mobility across the country.

On Feb 20 last year, StarMetro reported that stakeholders complained about uneven pavements and pothole-riddled roads to and from Phileo Damansara MRT station during a press conference by Chean Chung at the site.

Many had a hard time accessing the MRT station because of the poorly maintained walkway along Jalan 16/11.

With that in mind, BCMY and Chean Chung proposed building a better walkway to Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).

The 500m walkway project will stretch from the traffic light intersection of Jalan 17/1 and Jalan 16/11 to Phileo Damansara 2.

The design will see safety features such as bollards to keep pedestrians away from vehicular traffic, zebra crossing at the entrance of Phileo Damansara 1 and lights under the road ramp.

Commuters have to walk on Jalan 16/15 to head to Phileo Damansara MRT station as there is no walkway. — Photos: AZMAN GHANI/The StarCommuters have to walk on Jalan 16/15 to head to Phileo Damansara MRT station as there is no walkway. — Photos: AZMAN GHANI/The Star

BCMY associate director Timothy Ong said its role included presenting a vision of safer streets for the community.

“We have proposed several workable images that inspire the best design possible on the path leading to and from Phileo Damansara MRT station.

“The final upgrades will be up to MBPJ,” he said.

Ong added that in order for a street to be walkable, it had to be usable, comfortable, safe and interesting.Ong says in order for a street to be walkable, it has to be usable, comfortable, safe and interesting.Ong says in order for a street to be walkable, it has to be usable, comfortable, safe and interesting.

“Oftentimes, it is very difficult to satisfy all four components.

“This project will definitely look into the safety of pedestrians and how traversable the roads are for commuters,” he said.

According to BCMY’s study, about 856 pedestrians pass through Phileo Damansara MRT station during the peak period between 8am and 9am.

BCMY director Justin Lee said most of the feedback gathered from pedestrians and train users were about unsafe routes, poor lighting and lack of proper pedestrian crossing.

“Current walkability conditions are inadequate.

“For example, there are narrow sidewalks next to high speed traffic, obstacles on pathways, dangerous intersections and pedestrians sharing the same road as vehicles,” he said.

Justin added that the project would likely be carried out in several phases.

“We proposed several upgrades, including the traffic light island at the Jalan 17/1 and Jalan 16/15 junction but these might only happen at a later stage,” he said.

An artist’s impression of a new zebra crossing at the Phileo Damansara MRT station (top) in comparison to the current situation that lacks the facility.An artist’s impression of a new zebra crossing at the Phileo Damansara MRT station (top) in comparison to the current situation that lacks the facility.

“We hope that this project will produce the best possible street experience for first-and-last-mile connectivity.

“We also hope that this will improve the community’s perception on walking as safer streets are possible and people will be more likely to walk or cycle to destinations close to them.”

Chean Chung said the tender for the walkway upgrading project had just concluded and the contractor was in the midst of coming up with a quotation.

“The project is expected to take about one and a half months.

“It will have two phases, namely the stretch from the MRT station to the residential area and the stretch from the MRT station to the new development at the traffic light junction, which will be borne by the property developer.Justin says commuter feedback has been about unsafe routes and poor lighting.Justin says commuter feedback has been about unsafe routes and poor lighting.

“We want the developer to start doing its stretch of the project before embarking on its development,” he said.

Chean Chung said he had commissioned a study on foot traffic and walking patterns of commuters in the area.

“In the study, we found that there are more than 1,000 people commuting daily in the area.

“Many find that the road condition is poor.

“There are missing drain covers and in some places, simply no designated walkway for people,” he said.

Improving other areas

The walkway upgrade highlights the lack of a proper pedestrian infrastructure from train stations to residential or commercial areas not only in Section 16 but also other areas in Petaling Jaya.

Chean Chung is hoping this project for Phileo Damansara MRT station will act as a catalyst for the city council to re-examine walkability elsewhere in Petaling Jaya.

“This is not the only area affected. We are working with Petaling Jaya city councillors to identify more areas that require better connectivity and accessibility.

“Currently, we are looking at several locations, including Ara Damansara LRT station to Subang Airport, Taman Medan walkway leading to Taman Dato Harun KTM station as well as the Asia Jaya LRT station to the nearby housing area,” he said.

Chean Chung added that for Ara Damansara LRT station, commuters had to walk along the main road, sharing the same space with cars zooming past them.

“There is no shade and it lacks accessibility for cyclists too.

“We hope that with a pilot project, such as the one at Phileo Damansara MRT station, it will trigger walkway upgrades in these other areas,” he said.

When asked why train operators are not tasked to prepare walkable solutions to nearby residential or commercial areas, Chean Chung said it fell under the local councils’ jurisdiction.

Broken and uneven pavement poses a safety hazard for commuters walking towards Phileo Damansara 1 and 2.Broken and uneven pavement poses a safety hazard for commuters walking towards Phileo Damansara 1 and 2.

“Usually, train operators would build the station while the councils deal with the area of service, including its facilities.

“Sometimes, local councils lack the budget or there is a different priority.

“This is something that we definitely have to look into or leverage developers to deliver such facilities,” he said.

Chean Chung said usage of public transport and micro mobility vehicles such as bicycles and escooters was still low in the area.

“It is disheartening that you do not see bicycles parked at the train station.

“People are just so accustomed to using cars and cycling has become more of a form of recreation rather than a mode of transport.

“Imagine being able to cycle from Phileo Damansara MRT station to Digital Mall in Section 14 and then Asia Jaya LRT station, it can be so convenient,” he said, adding that he was also looking at coming up with a cycling path to connect these areas.

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