- Updated with additional articles & letters!
- Updated with additional articles following the objections in TTDI!
TRANSIT took note of this open letter from S. Bahari, a resident of TTDI who is a member of a pro-tem committee formed on 20 January 2011 to discuss the MRT project and give feedback on the project.
S. Bahari says in the letter that, “we are for the MRT and for a fair implementation of the project. It is hoped that we can work together with SPAD to find an alternative proposal….”
TRANSIT wishes to share the point of view of the Pro-Tem Committee so that their ideas, comments and concerns can be aired. We also believe that the contents of the letter raise some interesting information about the potential route through Bandar Utama and TTDI.
A section of the letter is posted below:
We want project to be on right track (Taman Tun Dr. Ismail Residents’ Association Blog)
Tuesday, 25th January 2011
It is a surprise to read the article by Zuhrin Azam Ahmad of the STAR on the 16th Jan 2011 (page 16) that said residents of TTDI during the dialogue session with SPAD were opposed to the MRT. As a result, many parties have criticized TTDI residents as being selfish. I am writing this open letter to all concerned to set the record straight.
During the dialogue session with Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam Darat (SPAD), [TRANSIT: That should be Pengankutan (transportation), not Perkhidmatan (services)] the Environmental Impact Study Consultants (EIS) and concerned TTDI residents who attended the meeting on 15 January 2011 at Eastin Hotel, it was made clear that we did not disapprove of the MRT. In fact we welcome it. It was the alignment of the line and the placement of the station that was the issue. A few comments have been written by those who did not attend the meeting but see it fit to make sweeping statements. For example, Dr. Ahmad Mustafa made a comment in the Star (21/1/11) of whining TTDI residents who oppose the MRT. I was at the dialogue session. There was neither whining nor any opposition to the MRT. It was a constructive dialogue where the argument was about the alignment, the EIS surveys (the lack of it) and where the station should be. During the meeting, we put forward the following questions to SPAD:
1) the alignment
2) the rationale in the choice of the station site
With regards to the alignment, the dialogue revolved around why the MRT should align along the LDP and not the more logical and viable route down the commercial area of Jalan Dataran Bandar Utama as was previously proposed in the original version of the MRT under the Greater KL plan. It would have been more logical to have a station along Dataran Bandar Utama as it can thus be within walking distance of the commercial and residential areas.
The second argument revolved around the placement of the proposed TTDI station (near TTDI exit road close to the TTDI market) and the proposed “One Utama” station that will be built at the junction of the main exit road of TTDI (Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi) and Bandar Utama.
[TRANSIT: The first location does not seem to be so terrible, but the location for the “Bandar Utama” station does not seem wise – wouldn’t a feeder bus system for TTDI (between the TTDI station & Bandar Utama station) be more effective than trying to site the Bandar Utama station right in between the two communities?]
These proposed train stations were opposed during the meeting. Among the reasons cited were that the areas would be congested due to the Malaysian culture of commuters getting someone to drop them off at the station as near as possible to avoid walking even a short distance or they will drive up to the station and park as close as possible along nearby TTDI residential roads (hence all the double parking that Malaysians are famous for).
[TRANSIT: Well, those things are certainly happening with the LRT today, so it is quite possible that the same would happen with the MRT]
We proposed an alternative during the dialogue; that the MRT runs down the Dataran Bandar Utama as originally planned and a station built at the One Utama massive car park adjacent to Central Park. This will have an additional advantage of connectivity of the MRT to the long distance bus service that is currently operating there. If the adjacent golf driving range is acquired, this area could be turned into a bus hub for buses throughout Malaysia thus fulfilling one of the factors stated by SPAD that alignment and station chosen must enhance Intra modal and Inter modal connectivity.
[TRANSIT: Another alternative would be to have the MRT built around the golf course & parking lot with a station located at the north end of 1 Utama – certainly the 1Utama developers could give up some of their surface parking lot.]
Currently, the TTDI station is proposed to be located at the other end of TTDI. However, this is not where the majority of the residents are. The original version of the MRT alignment from the greater KL plan was designed to serve residents as it goes into the residential area of TTDI via Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, into Jalan Dato Sulaiman. An area that seemed to be proposed for the station sits in the middle of TTDI near the most high density area of TTDI (where the condominiums and commercial areas are). Thus a high majority of TTDI residents can actually walk to the station if it is placed here as originally designed.
Click here for a larger version of the above image.
[TRANSIT: This would certainly be an interesting proposal, but the turns (At Jalan Burhanuddian Helmi – Jalan Datuk Sulaiman and Jalan Dataran Bandar Utama – Lebuh Bandar Utama) would have to be quite sharp – and noisy – unless the MRT were to travel along the east side of 1 Utama and cross the LDP on an angle. As you can imagine, it would be much easier to follow the LDP-Jalan Damansara alignment.]
As fast as Dr. Ahmad Mustafa wants the MRT project to take off, please keep it in the back of your mind the proverb “Haste makes Waste”. There are enough white elephants in Malaysia and enough projects implemented that actually create new problems. In this respect, some of us fail to see the logic of the current MRT alignment as it is being made to serve commercial areas at the expense of low-density residential areas.
Actually, new areas such as Damansara Utama and Tropicana Mall, areas of higher residential density and with bigger commercial areas are more deserving to have the MRT station rather than quiet TTDI with a small commercial area (Banks and shops for cars) and residents, the majority of whom are mostly retired civil servants, senior professionals and foreigners who can afford homes in TTDI. The initial study and proposed alignment by Gamuda actually bypasses TTDI altogether, and it runs from Bandar Utama to Damansara Utama and to Tropicana mall, areas with higher density and commercial activities.
The article continues on from there with more comments. More letters & articles and additional feedback on the MRT project can be found below:
- Letter: Learn from Japanese experience (The Star, 2 March 2011);
- Letter: TTDI residents prefer MRT underground (The Star, 26 February 2011);
- Letter: Unite for a better MRT (The Star, 24 February 2011);
- Residents fume over acquisition notices on trees (The Star, 20 February 2011);
- Progress yes, but not at people’s expense (The Star, 17 February 2011);
- TTDI residents can take only so much (The Star, 14 February 2011) – “Longtime Resident” replies to the letter from Sulaiman Hood
- Taman Tun Residents Need an MRT (The Star, 11 February 2011) – Sulaiman Hood writes another letter supporting his belief that the MRT is needed;
- Letter: We want project to be on [the] right track (TTDI-RA, 25 January 2011) – Comments from a member of the TTDI Residents’ Association’s Pro-Tem Committee to discuss the MRT on the newspaper articles & letters which suggested the residents are against the MRT.
Some of their arguments can be found below:
- both areas are high density commercial areas with medium and high density residential areas nearby;
- The bus hub at 1 Utama already exists and can be expanded;
- There is the option for shuttle bus service along Lebuh Bandar Utama to KBU and across the highway;
- TTDI can still be served by a shuttle bus which would link multiple stations;
- parking available in the areas is on a large scale, especially at 1 Utama;
- tunneling under Jalan Dataran Bandar Utama is quite possible (unfortunately, tunneling through Damansara Uptown is not likely);
- A financial commitment or nominal (RM1) lease-over of land by the developers could be obtained – especially since the projects would certainly benefit the commercial areas of both neighbourhoods a great deal;
As always, TRANSIT wants the public to look beyond the information conveyed in the mainstream media and learn more about public transport and the planning process.
This particular letter gives some very interesting comments from the perspective of the Residents’ Association’s Pro-Tem Committee. Although their bias about the MRT (suggesting that it is not suitable for “quiet” TTDI and suggesting it be directed to busy commercial areas at Damansara Uptown and Tropicana City Mall, or describing “the added horror of a giant train track and all the associated noise and vibrations looming above my home”) is clear, it is important that their feedback be heard and understood.
That said, TRANSIT is quite interested to learn more details about the MRT proposal as well as route within the Greater KL proposal. It is interesting that there are some significant differences, but as we have said before, planning changes and sometimes even the people in the government are not on the same page.
From an engineering perspective, we do not see the logic of trying to run the MRT along Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi or trying to make those turns as described in the letter above. It would be far easier from an engineering perspective to cross over the LDP at a reasonable point and make a gradual turn to Jalan Damansara – which is what SPAD is likely proposing.
But the idea of running the line down the middle of the LDP or attempting to locate a station over the LDP (and the flyover) at the Bandar Utama interchange does not seem to be that wise either.
And as we said before, the proposal from See Hoy Chan Holdings, developer of 1 Utama, which has offered to build the station under Central Park Bandar Utama, cannot really be ignored. Nor should the proposal to “adopt a station” from See Hoy Chan Bhd. (developer of Damansara Utama).
Our reasoning is actually pretty simple:
As we have said before, we will continue to follow the issue and gather more information about the proposals and create more opportunities for discussion and feedback.