TRANSIT’s Zul was interviewed in Free Malaysia Today discussing some of the reasons behind the overwhelming traffic congestion that we face on our roads today.
Blame the developers for traffic congestion (Free Malaysia Today)
May 20, 2011
Local councils usually left traffic planning to developers who normally don’t have a clue about traffic flow.
PETALING JAYA: What do developers know about traffic planning? Nothing. And this is the reason for congestion in residential areas, says a transport expert.
Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit (Transit) chairman Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah said the fault lies not only with the developers but also the local councils.
The local councils often left traffic planning to developers.
“When this happens, traffic consultants typically do not factor in variables outside of their study area, and this results in piecemeal traffic assessments,” he told FMT.
Zulkarnain said that land developers often hired their own traffic consultants and these consultants always favoured their employer’s development applications.
“There are no requirements that hold developers accountable in consideration of traffic impact on adjacent areas,” Zulkarnain said.
[TRANSIT: In other words, their narrow focus on their specific ‘area of scope’ leaves them unaware of problems caused in other areas or adjacent areas. It’s similar to the issue of gating your neighbourhood … It does not reduce crime but pushes it elsewhere.]
He added that local councils needed to take a greater interest in traffic planning instead of leaving it to the developers.
[TRANSIT: Many councils have “traffic engineers” rather than considering traffic in a holistic way through urban planning, development planning & transportation planning. This is why roads that are originally built for smaller volumes of traffic cannot cope as a township expands. Local councils still hold to the view that “transport is a Federal responsibility.]
He warned that councils that didn’t, often left their residents facing traffic congestion in their neighbourhood.
Subang Jaya example
Using the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) as an example, he said: “MPSJ is the only council that directly appoints consultants to conduct traffic assessments, but only [did this] after congestion in Subang Jaya had already reached intolerable levels.”
Zulkarnain said that when it came to traffic planning, developers were left to their own devises [sic].
He added that mayors and city council presidents should share the blame as they often rejected bus lanes in favour of cars.
“See what has happened to Subang Jaya now?” he said.
FMT previously reported on the plight of Taman Wangsa Permai (under Selayang) residents, who had to spend more than an hour getting out of their housing area.
People there also had to deal with a heavily-travelled main road, which served as a link between industrial areas.
It was also the only way in or out for Taman Wangsa Permai’s 40,000 residents.
Commenting on this, Zulkarnain said that the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) needed to work with other government agencies and transport companies to ease Taman Wangsa Permai’s congestion.
“What they should do is to initiate a local transport masterplan with cooperation from SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission) and work with RapidKL over routes and schedules,” Zulkarnain said.
He added that contra-flow bus lanes, priority signals and “comprehensive” pedestrian sidewalks would improve the traffic situation there.
“Rather than moving less than 600 mostly single-occupant slow-moving vehicles, one road lane can quickly move more than 3,000 passengers during rush hour,” he said.
Zulkarnain also recommended a bus rapid transit system linking the area to KL’s city centre to reduce residents’ reliance on private vehicles.
There we go – it’s not only just the developers who are to blame. It’s mainly the lack of holistic planning and planning for growth and only catering to the needs of vocal car drivers that is to blame. The developers & local councils (and we ourselves) become the architects of our own misery.
Public transport is only part of the solution and it can do a great deal to move people and make our roads & communities more efficient.
But what is more important is getting the public involved in building their communities (or rebuilding them) and helping them understand that communities will almost always continue to grow.