IN A last-minute turnabout, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has delayed implementation of the direction reversal for Jalan Yong Shook Lin as part of the one-way loop (OWL) project.
The trial is now planned to begin on Nov 23.
The route reversal was supposed to have taken effect yesterday but was called off on Saturday evening.
An official SMS was sent by the council to StarMetro on Saturday at 6pm to notify the change of plan. No reason was stated.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran said the postponement was caused by some technical difficulties but did not want to elaborate further.
Council representatives could not be reached for a comment. There were speculations that it could be because Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad was in South Korea on a working trip.
This postponement is the latest in a series that marks the seemingly haphazard manner in which the OWL trial is being carried out.
It was a chaotic start on Oct 12 when the one-way loop (OWL) was introduced, after multiple postponements. The trial was first planned to kick off on Jan 1 this year but was postponed twice — first to Aug 1 and then to Oct 12.
When it finally took off, the whole route was a loop of chaos because of a lack of signage to systemically direct motorists onto the correct lanes while pedestrians were endangered because the push-button traffic-light crossings were not ready.
Jalan Yong Shook Lin was rerouted for just a day. It resulted in cars getting stuck in a massive traffic congestion along this secondary loop with traffic going clockwise from Jalan Selangor to Jalan Yong Shook Lin and Jalan Sultan.
Within 24 hours, the traffic direction on Jalan Yong Shook Lin reverted to its original setting. However the rest of the OWL continued. The main part of OWL involves Jalan Barat, Jalan Utara and Jalan Timur.
During the October fullboard meeting, Alinah said the council would resume the counter-clockwise traffic direction on Jalan Yong Shook Lin as it was in the original plan for the one-way loop trial.
“It was postponed because of the chaotic start on Oct 12.
“Now that the traffic in the loop is smoother, the council is prepared to switch the direction as planned,” she said.
However, the reroute being called off at the eleventh hour once again raises questions about the credibility of the council to implement this project efficiently.
Section 5 resident and former Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez said the reroute plan in Jalan Yong Shook Lin might lead to accidents involving motorists coming from Section 5, 6, 8 and 9.
“Vehicles from Jalan Gasing using Jalan Changgai 6/22 to head towards New Town will be facing serious risk.
“When the reroute starts, we will have to cross the roundabout and cut across two lanes there. This turning is a sharp angle. I doubt this plan will pass the road safety standards,” he said.
He thinks the problem cannot be solved even if a traffic light was placed at the roundabout, saying the roads are too narrow for vehicles to make a turning into PJ New Town.
“Buses coming from Jalan Changgai 6/22 will also be using this route and it will be highly difficult for them to make the sharp turn,” he said.
Section 5 Residents Association president Mohamed Rafiq Fazaldiin said he had sent a letter of objection to MBPJ.
He echoed Fernandez’s view.
“This route is simply dangerous for us and we have objected to it. Cars from the Federal Highway and Jalan Utara are now speeding along this loop. It is posing a safety risk to us residents when we drive from home to New Town,” he said.
He also said residents were disappointed with MBPJ because they were not consulted over the changes.
“Please listen to our concerns,” he added.
Section 12 resident David Foo said the anti-clockwise traffic in Jalan Yong Shook Lin would cause a problem for those living in Section 7, especially those using Jalan 7/4.
He said based on the initial trial plan, there should be a connecting road from the Section 8 police station to Jalan Yong Shook Lin. This had not materialised, he noted.
StarMetro visited Petaling Jaya New Town yesterday and found that the residents and other stakeholders there were unaware that the Jalan Yong Shook Lin route reversal was supposed to take place.
However, regular visitors were open to the impending change, such as C.H. Ng, who said he would like to see if the anti-clockwise route would further smoothen traffic flow.
“What is unsatisfactory is the road condition along the one-way loop, which is awful and needs to be resurfaced,” he said.
With the upcoming traffic direction reversal, vehicles can only get to New Town from Jalan Timur and Jalan Changgai 6/22, to Jalan Sultan, Jalan Yong Shook Lin and into Jalan Selangor.
The mayor had earlier told StarMetro that the council had always wanted to carry out the OWL project. However, MBPJ lacked the funding to do so in the early 2000.
Over the years, the council had accumulated a substantial amount of funding in the council’s Development Trust Fund through funds contributed by the developers of several projects centred around the loop.
According to MBPJ Engineering director Ismail Shafie, MBPJ conducted a workshop attended by resident leaders and several other authorities on Oct 18, 2012.
A public display of the loop plans was held for two weeks from Jan 21, 2013 at the council headquarters before engineering consultant A.Sani and Associates Bhd and project contractor Islah Niaga were appointed.
The one-way loop project costs RM23.7mil, with the first phase coming up to RM2mil and the second phase RM21.7mil.
Both phases will take 23 months to complete.