TRANSIT has always had a soft spot for Klang town, despite what people may think. Aside from the food (different options for different people) and the culture, Klang Town is the nearest thing we can find in the Klang Valley to an “urban” town with heritage and cultural traditions.
Certainly there are areas of Kuala Lumpur that are “urban” in the sense that they have pedestrian-scale streets bustling with people. Similar areas can also be found in other towns in the Klang Valley – like Kajang, Petaling Jaya and parts of Ampang.
But none of these areas have the history and independence that Klang does.
And this is why we at TRANSIT have always made an effort to ensure that the urban character and heritage of Klang is retained. Unfortunately, it seems that the Selangor Government and MPK just does not agree. Through their (probably well-meaning) actions, with short term responses to long-term issues, they have managed to hollow out the urban core of North Klang and replace what was once a thriving, pedestrian oriented commercial centre with congestion, poor public transport, and dying businesses.
The worst thing about this is that TRANSIT predicted this would happen years ago, when we first learned of plans to close the North Klang bus terminal and build a flyover through the centre of town.
Thursday June 16, 2011
By Elan Perumal
THREE out of the five petrol stations in North Klang that were located within a distance of 500m from one another had to shut down over the past two years, following the introduction of new traffic routes in this part of Klang.
The closure of the stations, that have been operating for between 15 and 30 years in Jalan Batu Tiga Lama and Persiaran Sultan Ibrahim, speaks volumes about how the traffic re-routing has affected the town’s economy.
Despite strong objections from the public, including those from the business community, the Klang Municipal Council went ahead with the traffic rerouting system two years ago and the move has clearly backfired.
Many residents, including members of non-governmental organisations, traders and politicians, felt the council’s move to change the traffic system on several roads into one-way has done more harm than good.
The changes have badly affected businesses around Jalan Batu Tiga Lama, Persiaran Sultan Ibrahim, Jalan Taiping, Jalan Nenas, Jalan Pasar and Jalan Goh Hock Huat.
The decision to turn Jalan Batu Tiga Lama and Jalan Pasar into one-way and rerouting at other roads like Jalan Nenas was done at the peak of a controversy surrounding the delay in completing the flyover at Persiaran Sultan Ibrahim.
It was also carried out at a time when the council was under intense pressure from all sides to reopen the Klang North bus terminal in Jalan Pos Baru.
At that point, the council had announced that the rerouting was done in order to ease traffic congestion that had been caused by the delay in completing the RM32.1mil flyover project.
However, many Klang residents speculated the move was aimed at facilitating smooth traffic for the shuttle buses from the former bus terminal area where they stop to drop and pick up passengers, to the Klang Sentral transport hub that has not been well-received even though it has been in operation for more than three years now.
[TRANSIT: The MPK also shut down the local taxi stand for this purpose.]
It was obvious that the council wanted to drive the flow of traffic towards Jalan Pasar which had several new bus stops created to facilitate buses heading towards Klang Sentral in Jalan Meru.
[TRANSIT: Our recommendation to the Klang Municipal Council, local ADUN & MP was to re-open the North Klang bus terminal and introduce new services to facilitate the movement of public transport in all directions (including up to Klang Sentral – which we would name as Hentian Meru.]
Business went from bad to worse since the proprietors were already feeling the pinch following the relocation of the bus terminal to Klang Sentral.
The delay in the construction of the flyover had also caused massive traffic congestion which created a negative impact on businesses in the area.
But the traffic rerouting could be considered as the ”final nail on the coffin’’ for the business community in the area as the move had diverted the flow of traffic out of the town.
[TRANSIT: At a community meeting in Klang on 9 April 2010, TRANSIT predicted that these road works would drive life out of Klang town as the community would become a “pass-through” community. We argued that preserving & improving urban public transport in North Klang would at least preserve the urban core with healthy pedestrian traffic. But for some reason, the movement of cars from suburb to suburb is more important than preserving the life of the Royal Town.]
This indirectly led to the closure of the three petrol stations, one in Jalan Batu Tiga Lama and two in Persiaran Sultan Ibrahim.
Residents felt that the traffic rerouting was a hasty decision done without proper planning and consideration to the existing businesses in the area.
Business had dwindled so much that one of the petrol kiosks was unable to make a couple of hundred ringgit per day compared to thousands of ringgit per day prior to the rerouting.
It all boils down to wrong decisions, starting with the move to relocate the bus terminal from the heart of town to a faraway place called Klang Sentral in Meru.
[TRANSIT: One reporter describes Klang Sentral as “Klang’s Curse.” We could hardly disagree.]
Due to the council’s insistence to relocate the terminal, the bus operators and commuters have ended up as victims.
Bus companies were taking home smaller collections while the move had caused a lot of inconvenience to commuters who had to take more than one bus to reach their destination.
It is hard to digest that a commuter who used to hop on a bus to travel from one place to another on a single bus trip is forced to get down at Klang Sentral in order to catch another bus to his actual destination.
The traffic rerouting and the bus terminal relocation have robbed the town of its liveliness and thriving businesses.
Jalan Batu Tiga Lama is nothing like the vibrant street it used to be.
Nowadays one can hardly see vehicles on the four-lane one-way street. Traffic along Jalan Pasar and Jalan Nenas has also lessened.
A businessman from Jalan Goh Hock Huat said the traffic rerouting had left many businessmen in North Klang “breaking down in tears”.
“The authorities have killed the businesses here,’’ said the man who wanted to be known only as Tan.
It is hard to imagine what the future holds for this part of the royal town.
It is hard to watch a town die. It is even worse to watch a town die because of short-sighted actions that were supposedly meant to “save” it.
Klang is dying because it has been turned from a “destination” town into a “pass-through” town – one that people only see while rushing through during the peak hours.
The sad thing is that Klang always had the potential for urban renewal – moreso than any of the other towns that the Selangor government has talked about renewing. Because of its ideal location in the Klang Valley, with access to points east, north and south, it was and is an ideal transport hub & urban destination.
The problem is that because of the poor quality of public transport in recent years, there is really no way to get to Klang Town except to drive. Because of all those drivers, and the mushrooming growth of Klang’s northern and southern suburbs, the council has redesigned the roads to allow people to pass through Klang – killing the town in the process.
Who will save Klang? We have shared our ideas & suggestions with the Klang Municipal Council, the local ADUN & MPs, the Selangor EXCO, SPAD, the media and the public.
Sadly, no one seems to be willing to take the first step to bring Klang back to life. Instead they stand by watching, as the town dies of well-meaning actions and gross neglect.
Click here to see all of TRANSIT’s posts with the tag ‘Klang Sentral’ and read how Klang Sentral and the overhead flyover sucked the life out of Klang. Finally we quote ourselves and remind you of our simple solution:
To summarize, here is TRANSIT’s proposal for Klang
- 3 terminals (Klang, Meru, and Bukit Tinggi), serving
- 3 east-west corridors (NKVE, Federal Highway, KESAS), and
- 2 north-south corridors (Meru-Klang-Banting and Kapar-Klang-Kota Kemuning).
All services will be Bus Rapid Transit or Expressway Rapid Transit, with buses running in busways in the centre of major roads/expressways.
To bad there is no one able / willing to step up and fix Klang’s transport and economic problems, starting with improved bus service.