Watch this parking space

  • On Your Side
  • Friday, 13 Mar 2015

Expensive parking: Private parking lots at popular spots in the city cost a bomb.

We need a drastic increase in the number of parking lots in the city, which is a major concern for motorists.

LAST year, the StarMetro team did an exhaustive six-month study to identify the best parking spots in Kuala Lumpur.

If you’ve ever tried to find a parking spot in the city, especially during rush hour, you’ll understand the rationale for this study. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a hard time finding a parking spot in our capital – these spots, worth their weight in gold, are either full, too expensive, or worse, located a long way from your destination.

The team visited more than 100 parking lots in the capital – this included hotels, office towers, open-air car parks and covered car parks. This survey was also done as a result of the numerous concerns of our readers – parking in the city has become much more expensive these days, and in some cases, dangerous.

Yes, we even looked at the security aspects of these parking lots. Dimly lit parking lots in obscure areas should be no-go for motorists, especially female.

The 12-part series that we published focused on popular (read: most visited) areas in the city, from Brickfields and Chinatown to Bukit Bintang and Jalan Ampang.

The criteria for our study was accessibility, price and security – the three areas any motorists would consider important.

Our findings are accessible in The Star’s archives, but I have included a link to the final part of the series (see bottom of article).

I would like to think that the powers that be at City Hall took notice of this series and have started making improvements to the parking situation in Kuala Lumpur. After all, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur’s 2015 budget is a whopping RM2.44bil and if even 1% is spent on increasing/upgrading parking spaces it’ll only come up to RM24mil.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that DBKL construct multi-level parking lots; it would make more sense for the authority to go into joint-venture developments with private companies to defray the costs and share profits.

There are already enough open-air private car park operators in the city with many of them unlicensed and unregulated. But the “jaga kereta” menace is a story for another day.

The one initiative which has been introduced by City Hall is the “electronic parking notification board”. Eagle-eyed motorists would have noticed three of these signages set up in the Golden Triangle, at the start of Jalan Sultan Ismail, in Jalan Bukit Bintang and behind Pavilion shopping centre.

These signboards give real-time info on parking lots at a number of popular shopping complexes in the city. These include Pavilion, Suria KLCC, Lot 10, Starhill, Sungei Wang Plaza and Plaza Low Yat.

The aim of the electronic boards is to inform the motorist of the availability of parking space in the shopping centre he or she is en route to visit. For example, if you’re headed to Lot 10 but the board indicates less than 50 parking spaces left, it would be prudent to park in Sungei Wang Plaza and walk across the road.

As an initial move to coordinate the availability of parking spaces in city shopping complexes, this DBKL initiative should be lauded. But how effective are the signboards?

“Yes, I do notice them, but they’re not very prominent. If traffic is smooth, you may only have time for a quick glance and not much time to digest the information,” said a friend who works in Wisma Genting.

“It is helpful to a certain extent, but Malaysians will just try to park in locations where they’re going and it serves no purpose to those people who are not going to shopping centres.”

My source in City Hall tells me that the electronic parking notification board is just the start of a multi-million ringgit project to improve and upgrade the parking system in Kuala Lumpur. In the pipeline is a City Hall mobile phone app, similar to Waze, that will enable motorists to plan their journey to the city.

The app will tell you which roads are jammed, what are the alternative routes available, as well as provide you with options for suitable parking near or at the destination you are headed to.

I would be the first to sign up for this app (hopefully it’s free!) when it becomes a reality. Wouldn’t it be great to have an all-purpose parking app on your phone to tell you exactly which parking lots are available and at what price?

> Executive editor Brian Martin has bookmarked this summary of the best parking spots in Kuala Lumpur on his mobile phone: You should too.

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Opinion , brian martin , parking , city hall


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