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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Poorly planned township results in traffic congestion

The evening traffic jams at PJ Section 16 are a daily problem.

With the economic recovery and renewed interest in property buying, there is bound to be more project launches in the coming months.

Instead of just going ahead with their project plans individually or on an ad-hoc basis, it is important for industry players and the authorities to actively engage with each other and look for ways to further improve our towns and cities.

Town planners, developers and the approving authorities should always look at the big picture and take into account the needs of the people in the years to come.

Instead of just planning for the needs of the current population or the new project in question, planning for new roads, public amenities such as schools, markets, town halls and even bus stations should be for a longer-term period of 10 to 20 years at least.

The public should be kept informed of any new developments that are coming up in their areas to invite their feed back and proposals.

By promoting a more consultative approach in our development plans, we will be able to plan ahead and have in place solutions for some of the “expected” future problems even before they crop up.

It has become almost a perennial problem to find that when a township starts to mature and is joined by other newer developments a couple of years later, the roads leading to and out of the township will be choked up.

An easy litmus test to find out whether there has been forward planning by the approving authorities is to take a quick look at how congested the roads are.

Having the advantage of knowing in advance the number and size of new projects submitted for approval and how many projects will be approved in a certain locality, the planning authorities should ensure that sufficient infrastructure be provided way in advance.

This calls for a thorough master planning on the part of the authorities and they will have to tabulate the growth in population and estimated number of vehicles. The tasks of getting these facilities ready should be delegated to the responsible parties.

Heavily congested roads are a common sight in many housing estates and commercial areas in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley these days.

One of the most obvious handicap faced by many of our townships and cities is that the road infrastructure does not take into account the rising vehicle population and are now literally bursting at their seams.

Traffic jams in and around Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley are worsening by the day and many roads are badly choked.

It is no wonder that Klang Valley folks are spending more time in their cars just to get to and back from work. With the rainy season here again, the traffic snarls will only get worse.

The daily clogged up roads and the incessant jams are certainly one of the biggest inconveniences for city folks who have no choice but to put up with the bad jams day in day out.

Most of them still choose to drive because the inadequate and poor state of the public transport system does not provide them with any alternative.

Besides wasting a lot of time on the road, they are also sapped of their energy and have to fork out higher fuel bills.

The infamous Phileo Damansara crawl is well known among Petaling Jaya folks. The traffic crawl after office hours sometimes start from the car park basements.

Many questions have been raised on how the authorities can approve so many blocks of office buildings in the area when it is only served by one main entry and exit road. Luckily the ramp that was completed in 2002 has managed to divert traffic heading to Kuala Lumpur from the main exit.

It will save a lot of time for the many office workers in the area if there is a reliable public transport system in place to serve them.

With the many blocks of office buildings and nearby townships in Section 16 and 17, the area can certainly do with a light rail transit line and station to serve the many office workers and local population.

It is about time we revisit plans to upgrade our public transport infrastructure and ensure that they are equipped with the right facilities to attract more commuters to use them.

Let’s get our act together and do as much as possible to ensure the people’s incessant calls for a more functional and efficient public transport system becomes a reality soon.

In our drive to promote higher quality of life among the people, having well planned infrastructure including a good functioning public transport system is not an option but a necessity.

Deputy news editor Angie Ng believes the country’s quality of life index will go up many notches if the public and private sectors are more far sighted and work hand in hand as partners in progress.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

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