Better interconnectivity needed to solve Brickfields’ traffic woes


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  • Monday, 19 Jan 2015

Looming change: Skyscrapers are taking over the land in Kuala Lumpur, the quaint 100 Quarters is not spared.

A BIT of debate has arisen in the development of Brickfields of late.

This includes the 100 Quarters (the former civil servant residences) and the Vivekananda Ashram.

The latter, with support of a petition containing 107,000 signatories nationwide has gained the support of Tourism Ministry to be preserved as a heritage site.

My knowledge of the area is from renting there for a short period of time and the continued visits over the years.

There is no official census data on the current population of Brickfields other than the 2010 census saying there are close to 1.6 million residents in Kuala Lumpur.

The Brickfields community has also brought up the issue of traffic congestion, which I found surprising.

Parking lots are aplenty in and around Brickfields if you care to walk and pay, but I cannot say the same for civic-mindedness.

The issue with the congestion in Brickfields is not so much an issue of too many residents, but an issue of too many people using the roads as a proverbial “parking lot” thus avoiding the cost of parking and are just unperturbed about the trouble caused unto others.

One way to deal with such an issue is to build even more parking lots closer to where people want it to be, to stop them double parking and causing a traffic jam all the way to Federal Highway.

Brickfields community can play a role in altering the motorists’ attitude.

For example, the shopowners should advise their customers to not simply stop or park by the roadside.

I can see that the authorities are tackling the issue through the threat of towing, but it would need an implant of civic-mindedness to eliminate the problem altogether.

Admittedly, double-parking and illegal parking on the roadside is not merely Brickfields’ issue, but a Malaysian one.

Safe to say, Brickfields is a victim of a larger problem that the powers that be and interested parties are struggling to solve.

It is the lack of interconnectivity in public transport plus a growing population of commuters who need to stinge on expenses to cope with the rising cost of living.

To summarise, most of the traffic is not from the Brickfields residents themselves but visitors and daily commuters passing through.

With the central transport hub in the area, Brickfields is a prime location for investment.

More needs to be done to ensure areas adjacent to dense developments, such as the ones we see with Brickfields and KL Sentral and even Kuala Lumpur city centre and Kampung Baru, can benefit from one another and thrive.

I am sure all these developers have been on the ground talking to the local community through townhall sessions to avoid a repeat of the case of Kampung Chubadak.

In the end, I do hope for an amicable solution that will not only re-energise Brickfields but also benefit both sides of the discussion.

ALAM SHAH SULEIMAN,

Kepong.

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