The members of TRANSIT noted with interest the official ground breaking of a new project at KL Sentral Lot G, to be called NU Sentral.
The ground-breaking by Prime Minister Najib took many opportunities to highlight the role of KL Sentral as Malaysia’s “Integrated Transport Hub”.
One important piece of information was the mention of the Kota Damansara – Cheras line, now being described as a “mass transit line” that would integrate with the existing Kuala Lumpur Sentral hub.
The Prime Minister also highlighted:
- the “seamless connectivity” created by the new building
- that the project would be 3 times the size of the MidValley MegaMall.
- that the Brickfields neighbourhood would be modernized and developed but still retain its character.
Consider this quote taken from the article Seamless connectivity key for growth, says PM (The Star):
The Prime Minister said an example of seamless connectivity between road and rail services in the city was the construction of NU Sentral, an integrated retail and office project to be built at KL Sentral.
Najib looking at the development model after the official launch of Lot-G Integrated Development (NU Sentral). Image courtesy of The Star. [TRANSIT: Lot G / NU Sentral is the two towers closest to where the PM is standing. Also, can you see the actual railway station?]
“With the completion of this new development, we will see seamless connectivity between KTM Intercity and Komuter trains, KL Monorail, ERL and the light rail transit systems.“The design of this place will encourage more people to walk in comfort due to inter-connectivity that exists between the buildings,” he said at the launch of the Lot G and NU Sentral integrated development project here yesterday.
Or consider this report from Bernama:
Another unique accessibility feature of the Nu Sentral is its linkage to KL Sentral via a fully air-conditioned bridge and another separate bridge to link to-and-from the KL Sentral Monorail Station.
“With the completion of the new development, we will see seamless connectivity between the KTM inter-city and commuter services, the monorail, the ERL and the Kelana Jaya LRT through the station and the new integrated development,” Najib said.
“Seamless-interconnectivity” means that there are few or no physical barriers between different modes of transport. It also means that the fare systems and platforms are fully integrated.
That is not happening in Malaysia.
The obvious crime that people point to is the lack of a direct physical connection between the KL Monorail “KL Sentral Station” and the main KL Sentral station building.
Bridging the Gaps
The NU Sentral project aims to resolve the issue of distance between the two lines by building a mall in between the stations to bridge the gap.
Instead of bringing the monorail to KL Sentral, they will bring KL Sentral to the monorail. They will also put another station across the road from the monorail – so there will be 3 stations.
Look at the Bernama quote – there will be two bridges to connect three separate buildings – that is hardly “seamless interconnectivity”
But the problems are greater than the physical interconnection.
Poor Planning and Connectivity … at our Integrated Transport hub!
KL Sentral is not a truly integrated station because it was never designed with a place for all modes of transport. There was never a plan to have feeder bus services at KL Sentral.
The KTM Komuter and RapidKL LRT services are connected under the same roof at KL Sentral – but their fares and platforms are not integrated.
Walking in Comfort?
Najib also comments that people will be able to “walk in comfort” between the KL Monorail and KL Sentral main building.
Yes, certainly we can see that people will be able to walk through covered areas with air conditioning on their supposedly “seamless” connection between the two buildings.
But this area is likely to become a congested, noisy, busy commercial space that will be more about sales and commerce than about transport.
The blog KL Commuter described the inside of KL Sentral as a having a feel similar to a Kamdar or Pasar Malam – not necessarily a bad thing – but also not the most comfortable or appropriate use of space. We have to ask Sausana Sentral (managers of KL Sentral station), how does shopping everywhere improve the public transport experience?
Overall, TRANSIT is very disappointed with the concept of KL Sentral and the problems that exist there such as overcrowding, use of public transport space for commerce, lack of connection between lines and poor bus services.
We are very unhappy with the idea that Malaysia’s main railway hub is also one of the largest parking garages in Malaysia, and that a significant number of people coming to KL Sentral do not get there by public transport.
And while we are happy to hear more news about the Kota Damansara – Cheras line, we cannot believe that the NU Sentral project is as much of a solution as it is hyped up to be. Certainly the government is going to be building infrastructure and spending money, but it is hard to fix the mistakes that have been made in the past just by spending more money and constructing more buildings.
For more information about NU Sentral please see the following media:
- Video: http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Videos/sc_getVideos?vid=20090811175831&height=400&width=520
- Government Set To Improve Urban Transportation, Says Najib (Bernama)
- Seamless connectivity key for growth, says PM (The Star)
- Discussion of the route of the Kota Damansara-Cheras line (Skyscrapercity.com)
- RM1.4b bina sistem pengangkutan awam Nu Sentral – PM (Utusan)
- Brickfields revamp gets the thumbs-up (Malay Mail)
- Pengangkutan awam ditingkat (Berita Harian)
- KL Sentral Master Plan
TRANSIT will follow up this posting in a few days with a few Google earth images of potential routes for the Kota Damansara-Cheras MRT line