MRT Update: Do we need an MRT to Shah Alam & Klang? (Update #1)

  • Updated with poll! Read through our post and join our poll – conveniently placed at the bottom of this post!

TRANSIT has taken note of the updated plans for the MRT network, which (as you know by now) are actually quite different from the original MMC-Gamuda proposal.

If you have been following the plan (or all of the plans), the “latest, ultimate new” MRT network still involves 3 lines, and one of the lines does travel from Sg. Buloh to Kajang, and there is still a Circle Line although the alignment appears to be quite different.

The 3rd MRT line is proposed to run from Ampang to Klang via the southern route – through Seputeh, PJ Selatan, Sunway, Subang Jaya and possibly Kota Kemuning.

Star Graphic showing the proposed MRT line in the centre of KL. Image courtesy of The Star - accuracy not verified by SPAD.

Unfortunately, TRANSIT does not have enough details about the route in order to give a full comment – but what we know already allows us to ask this very important question:

Is this MRT from KL to Klang line actually necessary?

See our point of view, an interesting letter and give us your feedback – all after the jump! Continue reading

What do we know about the “new” proposed New MRT line

Some time ago, in August 2009, TRANSIT posted about the Kota Damansara-Cheras LRT/MRT line, which had then been announced by Prasarana.

Our posting “New MRT Line” aimed to summarize the information that we had at the time about the proposal for a rail line linking Kota Damansara to Cheras. You can see a summary (with updates & speculation) at the end of this post.

That LRT/MRT line has now been absorbed into the government’s proposed Greater KL/Klang Valley MRT network (inspired by MMC-Gamuda). These graphics show the route maps, then and “now.”

This Star Graphic shows the 2008 route proposal for the Kota Damansara - Cheras LRT/MRT line, through Bangsar, KL Sentral & Brickfields. Image courtesy of The Star.

This Star Graphic shows the new proposed routing for the Sg. Buloh to Kajang MRT line, which is expected to bypass Bangsar and KL Sentral. Image courtesy of The Star.

More details after the jump.

Continue reading

The New Brickfields

TRANSIT will discuss the proposed changes to the Brickfields neighbourhood in this page.

Ramps to ease congestion (Streets-NST)

5 new ramps will be built connecting Jalan Syed Putra to Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields - image courtesy of the Federal Territories Ministry

5 new ramps will be built connecting Jalan Syed Putra to Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields - image courtesy of the Federal Territories Ministry

click here for a larger view of the above map.

01/10
Residents: Why weren’t we consulted? (Streets-NST)

11/11
Brickfields residents offer alternative solutions to mayor (NST – Streets)

12/11 

TRANSIT Says:

Construction on the flyover at Jalan Travers and Jalan Bangsar is already happening. And while we at TRANSIT are not really happy with this traffic dispersal project, we can see the benefits of some of the infrastructure.

Imagine if the ramps that connect KL Sentral to Jalan Bangsar, Jalan Tun Sambanthan and Jalan Syed Putra were for public transport vehicles (buses) only! That would do so much for reducing congestion in Brickfields and in KL because it would direct the long distance bus services off of Jalan Tun Sambanthan and directly to the highway.

If the ramps were combined with bus lanes and a new bus rapid transit service like Instanbul’s Metrobus, it would have an amazing effect, reducing traffic congestion in Brickfields and improving public transport access to the highways.

Let’s save Petaling Jaya with public transport!

TRANSIT logo
TRANSIT noted a very interesting set of articles in The Star Metro section on 26 October, which focus on the issues of public transport in Petaling Jaya.

The articles scored a point with many of the people at TRANSIT, who wonder why LRT extensions to low-density places (like Putra Heights) seem to be planned at the expense of better public transport for higher-density, rapidly growing communities like Petaling Jaya.

And in light of articles like the one above, as well as news about public transport terminals being proposed by private developers in Petaling Jaya and Damansara Damai, TRANSIT is, frankly, very concerned.

It’s not that we mind it if developers are interested in building public transport infrastructure.  Frankly, we welcome more participation from developers. The problem is when the government does not have a coordinated, comprehensive and complete Master Plan for development and public transport.

Then, any developer with a bright idea and a big cheque book can get a project approved…just by saying that it will lead to improved public transport.

TRANSIT has a plan for Petaling Jaya and we believe that it will be a good one:

Petaling Jaya South & PJ ‘Old Town’

  • Urban renewal projects in PJ Old Town including pedestrianization of Old Town and bus lanes;
  • Construction of an integrated public transport terminal at Old Klang Road and Jalan Templer;
  • Extension of LRT from Seri Petaling to Old Klang Road and Jalan Templer.

Central Petaling Jaya

  • Improve public transport infrastructure in redevelopment of Taman Jaya and PJ State, Section 14 & 15;
  • Sg. Buloh to Cheras line will serve Section 16 & 17.
  • Bus Rapid Transit system following Jalan Templer, Jalan Gasing, Jalan Universiti to connect north and south Petaling Jaya

Northern Petaling Jaya

  • Sg. Buloh to Cheras line will serve Bandar Utama, Mutiara Damansara, and Kota Damansara;
  • Urban renewal projects in Bandar Utama, Damansara Uptown including pedestrianization and bus lanes;
  • Construction of an integrated public transport terminal at Bandar Utama, just north of 1Utama shopping centre;
  • Extension of LRT from Sentul to Bandar Utama via Kepong.

We hope that this will create a complete and effective public transport network for Petaling Jaya, so that there will be no areas of the community that are more than 5km away from a rapid-transit line, and no person should be more than 500 m away from a bus stop.

Of course there are other plans and we welcome them too.

Through open discussion we can find the best, most effective plan that will meet everyone’s needs.

By the way, the Selangor public transport infrastructure plan can be seen here.

Proposed ‘Sentral’ Terminal for Petaling Jaya – TRANSIT has a better idea

TRANSIT took note of this story in the Star Metro, Developer proposes public transportation hub in Kota Damansara to address traffic woes. The article suggests that the proposal was well-received by the Datuk Bandar (Mayor) of Petaling Jaya, Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman.

TRANSIT does not support the idea of a single ‘sentral’ public transport hub as proposed by the developer, for reasons which are mentioned in the comment below.

TRANSIT logo

7 November 2009

Dear Editor

RE: Proposed ‘Sentral’ Terminal for Petaling Jaya

The Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit took note of the proposal for a “sentral” public transport hub for Petaling Jaya, mooted by a local developer and supported by the Petaling Jaya City Council.  This proposed “sentral” station would be located in Kota Damansara and would integrate bus and LRT services.

TRANSIT recognizes and appreciates the enthusiasm of the developer and the Petaling Jaya City Council with respect to the proposed “sentral” station but we believe that this project will be an exercise in failure.

However, we do not blame the developer or the Petaling Jaya City Council. They are only doing the best they can with the uncoordinated and incomplete planning process that we currently have.

Despite all the talk about improving public transport in the past 5 years (to say nothing of the talk and proposals over the past 30 years) there has never been a complete and effective master plan of the Klang Valley that all governments and planners can stick to as they make their transport and development plans.

In other words, there is no single, consistent document that tells us what the Klang Valley will look like in 10 or 20 or 50 years.

What makes it even worse is that the plans that we do have are inconsistent with each other. The KLCity 2020 Draft Plan is not consistent with the KL Structure Plan. The transport components of the Draft Local Plans for Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya and Klang are inconsistent with the Selangor State Structural Plan. We can only presume that the plans for Selayang, Kuala Langat, Ampang Jaya, Kajang and Hulu Selangor will be equally inconsistent with the State Structural Plan.

On top of that, Prasarana’s plans (or should we say, the consultant’s plans) for LRT extension and routes are so far inconsistent with all of the above mentioned plans – with no data or evidence or justifications being provided.

So should we be surprised that private developers and local councils are planning public transport services in their own silos, without talking to each other.

However, based on what TRANSIT already knows, we recommend that the Petaling Jaya City Council reconsider the proposed “sentral” station in Kota Damansara.

Firstly, Prasarana has proposed that the Kota Damansara – Cheras line be extended to Sg. Buloh to link with the KTM at Sg. Buloh station. In addition, the government has also mooted the idea of an Integrated Transport Terminal (for buses, KTM, MRT, taxis etc).

Both of these make Sg. Buloh a more likely site for a successful public transport terminal. A terminal located just down the road in Kota Damansara would be a wasteful and unnecessary project.

Secondly, except for the developments along Persiaran Surian, much of Kota Damansara is a relatively low-density area in comparison with other areas of Petaling Jaya. Kota Damansara also has a very high level of car usage.

In constrast, areas like Petaling Jaya Selatan, PJ Old Town and even Damansara Utama are much higher in density and have greater levels of public transport usage. This means that public transport projects in these locations are far more likely to be successful.

Thirdly, TRANSIT’s study of demographics, density, transport patterns and land use in Petaling Jaya suggest that there is a need for two smaller public transport hubs, rather than one massive ‘sentral’ station.

Projections of traffic congestion in Petaling Jaya in the next few years are quite scary if many of the mooted projects are approved. Petaling Jaya will need the proposed Sg. Buloh to Cheras line as well as a north-south LRT line connecting Bandar Utama with Petaling Jaya Selatan.

In order to make this happen, TRANSIT proposes a Petaling Jaya Selatan hub be located near Jalan Templer and the New Pantai Expressway would integrate KTM services with Bus Rapid Transit (using the NPE and Jalan Templer / Gasing / Universiti) and feeder buses. The Seri Petaling LRT line would be extended to integrate with the KTM service, Bus Rapid Transit and feeder buses at Petaling Jaya Selatan.

In addition, we propose a Bandar Utama hub located along the LDP to the north of 1Utama shopping centre would integrate bus services with the proposed MRT line from Sg. Buloh to Cheras.  The Seri Petaling LRT would be extended from Sentul to Kepong, and then southwards to Bandar Utama.

Finally, a north-south LRT connection between Bandar Utama and Petaling Jaya Selatan would provide service for the centre of Petaling Jaya, provide a public transport alternative to the LDP, and ‘close the loop’ of the Seri Petaling LRT line.

Combining these two short distance LRT extensions with the construction of smaller integrated transport hubs at Bandar Utama and Petaling Jaya Selatan will immediately help to reduce traffic congestion in the northern and southern areas of Petaling Jaya. These projects will have a more positive effect on traffic congestion in the Klang Valley than the proposed extensions of the LRT lines to Putra Heights ever could.

But until all of the planners, wakil rakyat, public transport operators and the public sit down together as one Klang Valley public transport council, we will continue to see separate ideas mooted by different bodies – all working towards similar goals in their own fragmented, uncoordinated way.

This is why TRANSIT proposes that this Klang Valley public transport council be created now.

Sincerely

Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
on behalf of TRANSIT

TRANSIT Says:

For more information please see the following links:

Ong Tee Keat takes the bus

Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat, who is also the head of Urban Public Transport for the Prime Minister’s Key Result Area of Public Transport, took the bus yesterday.

Yes, we are shocked too.

You can read all about his short trip from Taman Midah to Taman Maluri in the article and blog posting below.

Public transport still unpopular (The Star)
6 October 2009

[TRANSIT: What a headline!]KUALA LUMPUR: The Transport Minister wants more Klang Valley folk to use public transport but recognises that services first need to be improved.

Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said he was willing to hear the concerns of consumers as well as players in the public transportation sector.

Currently, only 16% of the Klang Valley’s population uses public transport and the Government would like to increase this figure to 25%.

[TRANSIT: Lowered expectations. Three years ago the target was 40%...and still there are no details about what this percentage actually means.]

Pleasant surprise: A bus commuter greeting Ong during his visit to the Taman Maluri bus station in Cheras yesterday. — Picture courtesy of Nanyang
Pleasant surprise: A bus commuter greeting Ong during his visit to the Taman Maluri bus station in Cheras yesterday. — Picture courtesy of Nanyang

Ong said that among the main complaints were irregular service in certain areas, lack of service during non-peak hours, vehicle breakdown and poor maintenance of bus terminals and bus stops. [TRANSIT: We could have told you that. Wait, we did. Repeatedly.]

He added that he would also look at having unpopular residential roads being properly serviced by public transport. [TRANSIT: In this case, 'unpopular' means that these roads are not well-served because the companies do not want to operate services there]

Ong, the Urban Public Transport panel head, said it was on his agenda to meet with not only public bus operators but also representatives of other modes of public transport such as the Light Rail Transit and KTM Komuter. [TRANSIT: How about us? Shouldn't TRANSIT be in the Urban Public Transport panel?]

On bus companies complaining of unfair pricing compared to fares set by the Government for RapidKL buses, Ong said he would gather feedback. [TRANSIT: Enough with the feedback already. Time to take action.]

“We are here not just to promote only one company’s interest but also to look into national concerns. [TRANSIT: Then have RapidKL as the main operator and contract out services using the other bus companies]

“If we want to allow competition, then it should be on a level playing field but not at the expense of the public,” he said during a fact-finding walkabout at the Taman Maluri bus station in Cheras yesterday. [TRANSIT: He always says the nicest things]

Ong also pointed out that his ministry was not the only one with the power and jurisdiction over public transport.

The Transport Ministry is not the licensing agency for bus services nor is it responsible for the recent fare hike.

On whether the ministry might provide subsidies to encourage the use of public transport, he said: “Let us not be obsessed with the subsidy psyche — the main thing now is improving the areas of concern.”

He said the ministry was also looking into the possibility of introducing inter-company passes but it was not easy to convince all the companies. [TRANSIT: Convince? Why not implement a national public transport pass and expect all companies to comply?]

Transport Ministry, operators to talk
by Meena L. Ramadas
newsdesk@thesundaily.com

KUALA LUMPUR: Long-suffering Klang Valley commuters can look forward to a more integrated and efficient transport system if discussions between the Transport Ministry and the various transport operators bear fruit.

Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat said the Urban Public Transport panel which he heads will be discussing ways to coordinate and improve transport modes such as Light Rail Transit (LRT), KTM Komuter and Kuala Lumpur Monorail.

The panel will also be looking at the problems faced by commuters in relation to bus services, he said.

He declined to specify when the ministry plans to meet with the
transport operators. “Some of the problems are the lack of connectivity between housing areas, bus breakdowns and irregular bus services,” he said yesterday after his walkabout
at RapidKL’s bus depot in Taman Midah and Taman Maluri, Cheras. 

He said that during the discussion he would listen to the problems faced by the private and government bus operators in their effort to provide good service to the people and look at their weaknesses.

Later, in his blog, Ong said the feedback from the public would be taken seriously as the ministry is intent on achieving its medium-term target of increasing public transport usage in the Klang Valley from the current 16% to 25% by 2012.

He said that the ministry has been brainstorming on ways to
increase efficiency and one such method is the quality maintenance of buses and the introduction of a single pass for buses and trains.

Ong also elaborated on the improvements needed for the transport system.

“New bus routes connecting Taman Segar to LRT Bandar Tasik
Selatan as well as three extensions of current routes to LRT stations are in the pipeline to improve intermodal connectivity,” he said in his blog post.

He also said that the ministry, in collaboration with transport company Syarikat Prasarana Negara and Kuala Lumpur City Hall, will be adding eight additional buses into four routes.

“I have advised RapidKL that it is one thing to get additional buses; it is another to get as many buses on the road as possible if we are serious about improving reliability of its services,” he added. [TRANSIT: Then hire more drivers, and offer them better salaries.]

TRANSIT Says:

Comments aside, we are happy to see that the government is making some effort to improve their approach to public transportation.

The good side is that they recognize that the current system is not working and that this is a national interest. Unfortunately, they are still running things from a “government knows best” mentality instead of a cooperative mentality.

You can read more about the ‘walkabout’ on Ong Tee Keat’s blog -

My Walkabout

During the morning rush hour today, I took the bus near my home at Taman Midah to the Taman Maluri station to get a first-hand feel of what Malaysian commuters are going through on a daily basis. The people’s feedback is very important in shaping our decisions and policies, and I took the opportunity to speak to them on the Government’s efforts to encourage the use of public transportation, especially on the services and facilities offered.

The media was not invited on board because I want to hear the frank views from the people without the glare of publicity. [TRANSIT: How then do you explain the article in the Star above? Remarkable coincidence?]

Various issues were brought up and among the top concerns is the regularity of the services. Other points raised included breakdowns of buses which affect reliability of the services, accessibility and journey time, as well as convenience and comfort.

The feedback received must be taken seriously if we are to achieve the ultimate medium-term target of 25% public transport peak-hour modal share for Klang Valley by 2012 from the current 16% for the National Key Result Area (NKRA) on Urban Public Transport (UPT) which I head.

The view is that in the long-term, rail services must be positioned as the backbone of our urban public transport system. In the next three years, three work-in-progress rail initiatives will be able to contribute to improving rail services.

They are:

  • 35 new 4-car sets for the K5 [Kelana Jaya] LRT line to be operational by 2012;
  • 5 new ETS for KTM’s Ipoh-Rawang line to be operational by 2010;
  • The resurrection of 9 Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs) for KTM’s commuter lines by 2010;
  • Additional cars [how many?] are pending approval from the Ministry of Finance;

There are also other rail initiatives such as:

However, something must be done in the short-term and improvement in bus services is crucial to encourage the usage of public transport to achieve our medium-term target. I welcome RapidKL and Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL)’s collaborative approach in dealing with the short comings. Although public transportation is within the domain of multiple federal and local government agencies – 13 of them to be exact – the establishment of the NKRA for UPT is a strategic move to bring together the various agencies under a collaborative umbrella with common objectives.

For the initiative this morning, we are working with Syarikat Prasarana National Berhad (SPNB) of which RapidKL falls under, and DBKL in this pilot effort for selected routes in Area 4 which covers areas like Maluri and Cheras to improve on reliability, journey time, comfort and convenience, as well as accessibility and connectivity.

We will look into putting in 8 additional buses into 4 routes, proposing bus lanes and increase enforcement of those lanes. New routes connecting Taman Segar to LRT Bandar Tasik Selatan as well as 3 extensions of current routes to LRT stations are in the pipeline to improve inter-modal connectivity. We also hope that the increase in the number of covered bus stops will alleviate the discomfort of commuters in the short to medium term. I have advised RapidKL that it is one thing to get additional buses; it is another to get as many buses on the road as possible if we are serious about improving reliability of its services.

It must be stressed that efforts at improving urban public transportation must be a comprehensive one, which involves the cooperation of various parties, including other operators. While we welcome competition among operators of public transportation, such competition must ultimately benefit the people. It doesn’t make sense for competition to only focus on peak hours.

I am confident that if we continue to listen to the people, the Government will be able to achieve the high targets set for ourselves. This is the essence of a People First, Performance Now culture.

TRANSIT Says:

Wow, the Minister of Transport is certainly skilled at telling us what we need to hear.  The challenge now is to take action in which the government and people and operators must work together to:

  • Dismantle the old, entrepreneurial model for public transport;
  • Replace this with a service-driven model;
  • Ensure that this service-driven model includes the public;
  • Ensure that this service-driven model works at the local level, not as a centralized, Putrajaya-based agency;
  • Ensure cooperation with local authorities who are probably not interested in doing much;
  • Ensure that public transport planning, infrastructure, development planning and commercial planning all occur together

None of this will be easy…but if the efforts taking place in Cheras were focused on building a proper structure to manage public transport instead of doing everything at the ministry level then people would see that it is possible.

Public Display for LRT Extensions (Update #11)

Update: Prasarana has proposed an alternative location for the integrated depot in Puchong – requiring a second 3-months public display. Click here for more information.

Updated with new photos, images and articles!

Important NOTE: Now that the Public Display is completed there will be a lot of work sorting out the information and reining in the political statements.

TRANSIT notes that the public notice for the extension of the Kelana Jaya LRT Line (a.k.a. LRT Sistem 2 KL) from Kelana Jaya to Putra Heights has been filed and an announcement about the public display has been made public.

A scanned copy of the announcement is here. A summary of the announcement posted at the bottom of this page.

Datuk Idrose Mohamed says the extension project comprises a 17-km track for the Kelana Jaya line and 17.7-km track for the Ampang line. — Picture by L. Manimaran (Streets-NST)

Datuk Idrose Mohamed says the extension project comprises a 17-km track for the Kelana Jaya line and 17.7-km track for the Ampang line. — Picture by L. Manimaran (Streets-NST)

TRANSIT will be following the public display as well as looking at some of the controversies related to the planning of the LRT and the public display throughout the planning and construction process.

We invite your comments and feedback on the construction of the LRT Line extension and hope that these comments will also be shared directly with the Malaysian Government, Selangor Government, Department of Railways and Prasarana as well.

Please remember that, for comments to be considered “official” they have to be sent to the Department of Railways in writing, before 14 December. Postings on the website may not be considered “official”. However, you may be able to email your comments to lrtextensionfeedback@dor.gov.my (and please send a copy of your email to klangvalley.transit@gmail.com or post it here)

We will be creating a special section on our blogsite to follow this topic throughout the period of public display and on through the tendering and construction periods. In addition, you can find more information about objections/comments/concerns related to the LRT proposal here.

You can gather more information & give ‘unofficial’ feedback by visiting the LRT Extension website, http://www.lrtextension.com/

Proposed Route Maps

Different versions of the proposed route maps can be found below.

A map of the LRT extensions courtesy of China Press
A map of the LRT extensions courtesy of China Press
An aerial map showing the locations of the stations on the LRT extension - image courtesy of Prasarana & lrtextension.com

An aerial map showing the locations of the stations on the LRT extension - image courtesy of Prasarana & lrtextension.com

Click here to view a larger version of the map above.

A stylized route map for the Klang Valley rail transit system with the new extension stations included - Image courtesy of Prasarana & The Star

Click here to view a larger version of the image above.

Proposed Station Locations
Information about the proposed locations for stations along the extension can be found below.

Kelana Jaya Line Extension Stations

Kelana Jaya/Lembah Subang

1. Subang Depot (opposite D’Aman Crimson Condos) – image of station plan

2. Dana 1 Commercial Centre (north side of Subang Airport Road) – image of station plan

3. Kelana Jaya Centre Point (built on Airport Road with a multi-storey carpark) – image of station plan

Subang Jaya

4. Subang Jaya KTM (built over the KTM station + multi-storey car park) – image of station plan

5. SS15 Subang Jaya (opposite Nasi Kandar Pelita) – image of station plan

6. SS18 Subang Jaya (opposite SS14 commercial centre) – image of station plan

UEP Subang Jaya

7. USJ7 (opposite Goodyear Court 1 &2 with multi-storey carparks) – image of station plan

8. USJ8 (opposite Goodyear Court 3) – image of station plan

9. USJ14 (near Sekolah Wawasan & USJ19 Digital Mall) – image of station plan

10. USJ 21 (opposite Tropika Paradise Condo with multi-storey carparks) – image of station plan

Putra Heights/Alam Megah

11. Putra Heights / Alam Megah 1 – image of station plan

12. Putra Heights / Alam Megah 2 – image of station plan

13. Putra Heights Commercial Centre(interchange with Ampang line) – image of station plan

Ampang Line Extension Stations

1. Bukit OUG/Awan Besar – image of station plan

2. PPR Kg. Muhibbah – image of station plan

Bandar Kinrara

3. Bandar Kinrara 1 & 6 – image of station plan

4. Bandar Kinrara 2 & 5 – image of station plan

5. TBK & Bandar Kinrara 3 – image of station plan

Puchong

6. IOI Mall – image of station plan

7. Tesco (Bandar Puteri) – image of station plan

8. Rakan Muda – image of station plan

9. Batu 12 (Tractor’s Malaysia) – image of station plan

10. Puchong Perdana – image of station plan

11. Puchong Prima – image of station plan

12. Kampung Tengah (the integrated depot will be here) – image of station plan

13. Putra Heights (interchange with Kelana Jaya Line) – image of station plan

Station Design & new Design Page

An image of one of the station designs on the Ampang line is posted below. More discussion and comments about design, including station design, interior design & architecture, universal design and accessibility and information and signage can be found at our new Design page, http://transitmy.org/design

Artists impression of one of the stations on the new line - Image courtesy of The Star & Prasarana

Artist's impression of one of the stations on the new extension of the Ampang line - Image courtesy of The Star & Prasarana

Earlier Postings & Comments

You may also be interested in reading earlier postings & comments about the extension, which are copied below:

Objections, Feedback & Comments

A detailed lists of objections, feedback and comments regarding the proposed LRT extensions can be found at the posting “They object” (objections to the LRT proposal)

Articles & Letters

Letters & Articles about the public display can be found below, grouped by dates:

01 / 12 – 31 / 12

Read our comments on the articles below at this post.

  • Article: Residents want LRT station in Sunway (Streets-NST) – A group of residents has highlighted the need for an LRT station in Sunway in this article on 23 December 2009;
  • Article: Work starts on LRT station (The Star) – This article from the Star on 20th December highlighted land clearing works at the site of the proposed Putra Heights LRT station and prompted a letter from Prasarana explaining that the construction had not yet started;
  • Article: KL turns to LRT to get on right track (Malaysian Insider/NST) – The Malaysian Insider posted this NST article about the proposed LRT lines and the apparent focus on LRT construction as a solution for the public transport woes in the Klang Valley;
  • Article: LRT plan gets the nod as residents feel it will ease traffic (The Star) – TRANSIT was alerted to this article in which a group of resident’s associations and other groups in USJ/Subang Jaya, (presumably organized by Madam Ong Chong Swen – the MCA Kelana Jaya Division Chair) gave mostly positive feedback about the proposed Kelana Jaya LRT extension.

21 /11 – 30 / 11

16 / 11 – 20 / 11

11 / 10-16 / 10
04 / 10-10 / 10
20 / 9-03 / 10

18 / 9

17 /9

16 / 9

15 / 9

14 / 9

Project Announcement

The official project announcement is summarized below.

Project Announcement

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad hereby announces that it plans to extend the existing Kelana Jaya Line from its Kelana Jaya Station to Putra Heights, a total length of 17km. In accordance with Section 8 of the Railways Act 1991, the following documents have been submitted to the Department of Railways, for the purpose of Public Inspection:

a) Route plan, elevation views and sections, details of the route alignment, stations, car-parks, rolling stock and other related items.

b) Book of Reference which contains the names of the proprietors and lessees of the lands required for the project.

Place and Duration for Public Display

The above documents will be displayed for the purpose of Public Inspection from 15 September 2009 to 14 December 2009 at the following locations:

Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya
Level 1, Persiaran Perpaduan USJ5
47610 SUBANG JAYA
SELANGOR DARUL EHSAN
Tel: 03-8026-3131
Fax: 03-5637-6585

Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya
Lobi Menara MBPJ
Jalan Tengah
46200 PETALING JAYA
SELANGOR DARUL EHSAN
Tel: 03-7954-5984
Fax: 03-7958-4220

Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam
Ground Floor Lobby A Wisma MBSA
Persiaran Perbandaran
40000 SHAH ALAM
SELANGOR DARUL EHSAN
Tel: 03-55105133
Fax: 03-5513-3564

Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur
Menara DBKL 2
Jalan Raja Laut
50350 KUALA LUMPUR
Tel: 03·2617-9000
Fax: 03-2693-9245

Department of Railways
13th Floor, Menara Dayabumi
Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin
50050, KUALA LUMPUR
Tel: 03-2278-1222
Fax: 03-2272-1900

email: lrtextensionfeedback@dor.gov.my

The display will be held during normal office hours i.e. 09:00 to 17:00 from Mondays to Fridays (except public holidays).

The public may also inspect the project proposal at the website of the Department of Railways – www.dor.gov.my

Brief Description of the Project

The project, amongst others, involves the construction of tracks and stations, carparks, purchasing of new fully automated train-sets, signalling system including Automatic Train Protection System, communications system, power supply system and Automatic Fare Collection System.

Invitation to Inspect

Syarikat Praserana Negara Berhad hereby invites all parties and members of the public to inspect the above·said plans, sections and the Book of Reference and all comments or objections to the project must be submitted in writing to the Director General of the Department of Railways at the above address on or before 14 December 2009.

TRANSIT Says:

We have so much to say about the whole public consultation process and the people involved so it is tough to sit everything down into one posting. The easiest way to do it all is to break down the major issues and comment on the public display and how it can be improved.

1. The Public Consultation Process

TRANSIT is not happy with the 3 month public display process mandated within Section 8 of the Railways Act 1991 and feel that a number of amendments are needed.

Our main concern is that the 3month public display actually allows the process of planning and decision-making to be secretive, consfusing, ineffective and not transparent.

The LRT extensions were announced in 2004 but it was only in 2009 that we were able to see the ‘preferred’ alignment showcased at the public display. According to Dato’ Idrose, Prasarana has evaluated 10 different alignments and chosen this one as the most cost-effective and reaching the largest number of people.

However, at no point have any of these alignments been made public. Without data, the public has no way of knowing how these crucial decisions have been made.

TRANSIT believes that the public display process should be broken down into multiple stages. We envision 4 stages of public consultation, namely:

  • Technology & Service Analysis & Selection, where a mode of rapid-transit (LRT, Rapid Tram, BRT) faces a cost benefit analysis and receives public feedback. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is started at this stage.
  • Route Alignment Analysis & Selection, in which the top 4-5 route alternatives are made public and the advantages and disadvantages for each are analysed & explained publicly.  The EIA process continues at this stage and looks at specific impacts as the route is selected.
  • Station Placement Analysis & Selection where the locations of stations are determined and feedback is taken from the community. The EIA process at this time must focus on noise, traffic and community impacts.
  • Station Amenities Analysis & Selection where the features of the stations are examined and analyzed by the local community to finalize the details about each & every station.

2. The Feedback Process

TRANSIT is disappointed to note that, while the Department of Railways is responsible for collecting feedback about the railway projects (as an independent regulatory body) the majority of feedback is expected to go directly to the operators.

In addition, the operators are the ones who have created and are managing the websites (lrtextension.com for the LRT) and Aerorail.net (for the Melaka Aerorail).

Because of this, we wonder how much attention the Department of Railways is actually giving to this whole feedback process – despite what the Minister of Transport may say.

Frankly, we are also disappointed that the feedback is being collected in the form of a log book rather than proper forms. It does not give the impression that Prasarana is serious about collecting feedback. After all, how much feedback can be placed in a space that is 2″ wide and 1″ high?

We are surprised that the Department of Railways does not have an official form for the collection of feedback about Railway projects which would be used at all public displays.

3. The Information at the Public Display

The public display in Melaka had a great deal of technical information, whereas the public display for the LRT extensions is light on technical information.

The information about the line & stations is interesting and useful but does not go far enough to answer the critical questions of WHY? and HOW?

We refer here to questions like:

  • Why did you choose this LRT technology?
  • How many people can the LRT carry?
  • How many passengers do you expect to take the LRT?
  • How did you determine these numbers?
  • Why did you choose this location for this station?
  • How many people are you expecting to use this station? and many others……..

The only very specific information that we have found is the noise levels that Prasarana expects the LRT to produce, in comparision with the levels set out by the Department of the Environment. And even the reasoning behind these numbers are unclear. For example, if the numbers Prasarana is using refer to average decibel levels (rather than maximum) then it is quite possible that noise levels could be higher at certain times – possibly higher than the permitted maximum levels.

Regarding the other information, it is too general and gives very little information about what Prasarana and RapidKL are planning to do. Feeder buses are promised but little detail about the routes or communities served is given. Nothing specific is said about walkways, community safety, parking problems, and many other factors except that Prasarana promises that they will take care of things.

Again, this is why we believe that a multi-stage public consultation process is much better than the current system of public display. At this point we should have already figured out the details of route alignment & station location and could focus our attention on things like feeder bus services & walkways for pedestrians.

4. Areas for Improvement

TRANSIT hopes that RapidKL and Prasarana and the Department of Railways will take steps to improve upon their public display efforts by doing the following:

  • Solicit more and better feedback from the public by introducing proper feedback forms with sufficient length for feedback;
  • Request people to share their contact information for future consultation;
  • Print out booklets showing the station locations and make these available to the public;
  • Ask for specific feedback for each station with respect to feeder bus services, parking, walkways, noise levels and other factors;
  • Expand the size of the displays so the public can see large, detailed blueprints of the entire guideway and each station;
  • Connect a printer to the computer to allow people to print out information or their feedback forms and take that information home;
  • Provide proper tokens to the public for their participation – notepads & pens & pins are small tokens but people appreciate the gesture;
  • Have a representative from the Department of Railways present at each public display.

5. The Next Display (and Long-Term Participation)

TRANSIT has heard that the Sg. Buloh – Cheras line will be going for public display in early 2010. We hope that RapidKL and Prasarana will consider our feedback about the public display process and break down the public display into a staged public consultation, beginning in the next few months.

RapidKL and Prasarana should do their best to resolve the route alignment and other general issues about stations through public consultation before they go to the official public display period.

Damansara Damai to get new bus terminal

TRANSIT takes note of a proposal from a developer to build an “intercity” bus terminal in Damansara Damai, Petaling Jaya (near Sg. Buloh & Bandar Sri Damansara)

Damansara Damai to get new intercity bus terminal soon (The Star)
Friday September 11, 2009
By FAZLEENA AZIZ

A NEW intercity bus terminal called Wan’s Terminal will be built by the end of the year in Jalan PJU 10/4 in Damansara Damai (map) Petaling Jaya.

The RM1.9mil project also includes 32 shops, which will be built to control the number of road side hawkers in the area.

The project will be carried out by Medan Prestasi Sdn Bhd, a company under MK Land Holdings Bhd for the convenience of the local communities.

The terminal will play host to Metro, RapidKL, Selangor Omnibus and SJ buses from Damansara Damai to Kuala Lumpur.

It is situated near several schools, housing, commercial and industrial areas and caters to about 90,000 people in Damansara Damai.

The Damansara Damai area consist[s] of a mixed-development project of homes, condominiums and commercial lots, all developed by Medan Prestasi.

So far about 14,000 units of property have been sold.

MK Land executive chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal said it would be a vital transportation hub for the locals.

“The area has growth potential to become fully developed and today it is a complementary development.

Nobody asked us to build the terminal but we wanted to create a win-win situation for everybody,” he said. [TRANSIT: That is the problem. The Local Majlis Perbandaran should have a plan for a public transport hub in the centre of a community! A corporate-driven initative, while welcomed, may not be the best planned solution.]

….

Medan Prestasi is also planning to launch a few development projects in the Damansara Damai area consisting of condominiums and mixed development.

TRANSIT Says:

View Larger Map

We are always happy to see improvements to local public transportation and at first look, the intercity bus terminal sounds like a very useful & beneficial project for the community.

However, we wonder about the long term value of a terminal in Damansara Damai which is close to Bandar Sri Damansara and Sg. Buloh.

This is because the government has plans for a massive Integrated Transport Terminal at Sg. Buloh KTM station - which will have intercity & express buses, taxies, hired cars, KTM Komuter service, potential future Komuter Laju service [ok, that's just TRANSIT's idea] and finally, the Sg. Buloh – Cheras MRT line.

In the meantime, we are happy to see that the developer is taking the initative and we hope that the developer will consult public transport users, bus & taxi operators and planners and engineers on the best possible design for this new terminal.

2 guidelines on suburban public transit designs can be found here.

New MRT line

Update: Please note, this post refers to the Kota Damansara – Cheras MRT line as proposed in 2009, and not the Sg. Buloh – Kajang MRT line proposed in 2010 (which went to public display on 14 Feb 2011).

A great deal of discussion has already been taking place about the Kota Damansara to Cheras Line.

The Kota Damansara – Cheras line is being touted as the first ‘MRT-capacity’ rapid transit line to be built in the Klang Valley. Some commentators are already starting to use the term ‘MRT’ instead of ‘LRT’.

Potential route map (in red) of the Kota Damansara to Cheras line - image courtesy of The Star

Potential route map (in red) of the Kota Damansara to Cheras line - image courtesy of The Star

The map above shows an approximation of the proposal for the line and we at TRANSIT anticipate some changes in the actual line.

Right now we do have some information about the expectations for the line which we are happy to share with you.  For more information, keep on following TRANSIT. If you are interested, you can find a discussion on Skyscrapercity.com at this link.

General Expectations

  • Be a project in the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) from 2010-2014;
  • Extend from Kota Damansara to Plaza Phoenix in Cheras;
  • Cost approximately RM25 billion (according to current plans);
  • Start serious planning and design works in 2010-2011;
  • Start construction in 2012 with completion targeted for 4-5 years.

Operations

  • Follow TNB, road and river allowances wherever possible to cut costs;
  • Have an initial capacity of approximately 45,000 passengers per direction per hour;
  • All public areas of the stations (including concourses, platforms and outside areas) to be fully accessible;
  • Operate in a tunnel along Jalan Tun Sambanthan (from the Brickfields YMCA) and through KL, a distance of 5.9km.

Integration & Connectivity

  • The line will probably be extended from Kota Damansara to Sg. Buloh (allowing ‘integration’ with KTM Komuter service and the Sg. Buloh Integrated Transport Terminal);
  • The line will connect to the Kelana Jaya line with a direct transfer at Bangsar Station as well as a less direct connection at the NU Sentral project;
  • There may or may not be a link between the line and the Kelana Jaya LRT at Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek.
  • The line will connect to the KL Monorail at NU Sentral, with another less direct connection at Imbi station;
  • The line will connect to the Ampang LRT, probably at Maluri station.

Routing

  • Operate mostly elevated with a 5.9km tunnel along Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields (from the YMCA) and through the centre of KL and the Golden Triangle;
  • From Sg. Buloh and Kota Damansara to Petaling Jaya the line will be elevated. It will follow Persiaran Surian to Mutiara Damansara.  Then it will follow the LDP to Bandar Utama and Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. From TTDI, the line will follow the Sprint Highway to Pusat Bandar Damansara;
  • From Pusat Bandar Damansara the line will likely follow Jalan Ma’arof in Bangsar, Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields, and Jalan Raja Chulan in KL;
  • The current proposal is to have the tunnel start at the Brickfields YMCA but it may be necessary to tunnel through Bangsar given the hilly topography and the fact that this area is more residential (not to mention, “upscale”). Of course, the costs of construction and land acquisition will be significantly increased;
  • The line will have a station at the NU Sentral project but will not be directly connected to KL Sentral.

An aerial photo of the potential route of the line (according to what was published in The Star) has already been placed on Google Earth.  You can see the images in the gallery below.

Is fast tracking mega projects going to help public transport recover?

TRANSIT took note of this article in the business section of the Star Newspaper which focuses on the implementation of mega projects to help with the economic recovery.

2 of the mega projects that are being pointed to are the extension of the two existing LRT lines to Putra Heights and the new LRT line from Sg. Buloh to Cheras – which will be rolled out next year but ‘deferred’ to the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Monday August 10, 2009
Fast tracking mega projects for quicker economic recovery
By DANNY YAP

PETALING JAYA: The timing is right for the Government’s stimulus packages to kick in in a “big way” soon for a quicker economic recovery, say analysts.

…..

A CIMB construction analyst has identified 12 major construction jobs in the pipeline worth about RM80bil.

He said top on the list was the much-anticipated Klang Valley LRT extension/upgrade, which together with new lines was worth RM30bil to RM35bil.

“This is touted as the highlight of the Government’s pump-priming over the remaining period of the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) and is likely to spill over to the 10MP,” he said.

…..

“Key events to watch out for this year include the tender and award of the LRT upgrade/extension, tenders for the Kelau Dam, Langat 2 and related works,” he said.

…..

“Execution is the main theme for the sector this year. Expectations are running high for a large rail-related public transport project with huge spill-over effects to come on stream before year-end and rejuvenate the sector. And for 2010, we expect a much bigger one worth as much as RM20bil to be rolled out, probably as part of the 10MP.” [TRANSIT: Referring to the LRT extensions and the new line, respectively - see the image below]

Mega Projects to be rolled out soon - take note of Number 1, 2 and 8. Image courtesy of The Star

Mega Projects to be rolled out soon - take note of Number 1, 2 and 8. Image courtesy of The Star

TRANSIT Says:

Many people believe that the problem with public transport is that we do not have enough infrastructure – in other words, we do not have enough new rail lines, new buses, new trains, etc. etc.

But we have to be honest with you – the lack of infrastructure is only one part of the problem that public transport faces.

A key example is with RapidKL buses.  They have new buses (assets) and new routes.  However, the buses do not operate along any particular schedule that is known to the public.

RapidKL constantly says that it needs infrastructure (better bus hubs, bus lanes) to make bus service more reliable.  To some extent this is true – but the fact is that RapidKL also needs to put a schedule in place, enforce the following of that schedule and meet customer needs for reliability and frequency.

The same thing goes for the LRT lines.

Yes, having more LRT lines is going to help public transport – but if we plan ahead properly then we should be building MRT lines – after all, these lines have to operate for 50-100 years and during that time, demand is going to grow!

High Demand

And if we plan ahead properly, then we should be building lines in high density areas, following high-density public transport corridors – and ideally, bringing public transport to underserved areas that have a proven need for public transport and a huge potential for growth.

If we were doing that, then we would be building an MRT line from Kota Damansara through Petaling Jaya and KL all the way to Cheras – because it has more high-density areas with proven use of public transport and great potential for growth.

But instead, we are extending LRT lines to Putra Heights, of all places – a low density suburban area with few public transport users and low potential for growth.

Interconnectedness

If we were planning ahead properly, we would build an interconnected network of rapid transit lines – not necessarily rail but definitely rapid – that would connect different areas of the Klang Valley.

If we were planning ahead properly, we would build that network as quickly and as completely as possible – so we could move more people, faster.

Technology

If we were planning ahead properly, then we would not wed ourselves to one particular form of technology – and instead we would focus on how to maximize the value of each Ringgit Malaysia spent on public transport.

We are not there yet. Right now we are in love with the LRT and see it as the solution for all of our public transport problems.

The irony is that, since we built the LRT in the 1990s, public transport use has actually dropped by 50% (from 30% of transport market share in the 1980s to 15% of market share now).

Planning and Transparency

If we were planning ahead properly, we would include the people of the community in the planning process, step by step … so that they would feel included and their ideas valued.

If we were planning in this manner, we would identify the projected demands first, and get feedback from the public.  Then we would look at route options and then get the feedback from the public. Once that is done, we would focus on the location of the stations – again, with lots of feedback from the public.

But right now, we get the project completed and thrown at the public who have to swallow an overwhelming and sometimes confusing set of information – all the while being made to feel that:

  • a) Their views don’t matter.
  • b) Their views don’t matter.
  • c) Any objections they will have them labeled as NIMBY (not in my back yard) so they should keep quiet because their views don’t matter.
  • d) The government and engineers know what is best – and since the public does not have the technical knowledge or the power to make decisions, their views don’t matter.

That is the current state of affairs – but we have hopes that things will change in 2010.  We have hopes that the planning process for the Sg. Buloh to Cheras Line will involve the public from the early stages – and if Prasarana doesnt make it happen themselves, we will try to make it happen ourselves.

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