Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eyebrows raised over MRT integration, locations

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The lack of an interchange between the KL Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and the city’s main rail hub as well as the placement of stops near congested road junctions have raised questions over the optimality of the MRT stations’ locations.

The proposed plans appear to show that the MRT will not have an interchange with KL Sentral — the city’s main transport hub — despite having a station with the same name. Instead, it will have its train stop separated from the Sentral station by a substantial gap, reminiscent of the much criticised monorail station which also stops short of the KL Sentral hub.

The proposals also show that the new KL MRT has proposed stations near busy junctions, such as that of Jalan Maarof and the Sprint Highway and near a frequently congested traffic light area outside the popular 1Utama mall in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya but at the same time bypassing major commercial centres such as Damansara Uptown, Tropicana Mall and the upcoming Glomac Damansara.

Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), the developer of KL Sentral said given that the station already integrates the KTM, KTM Komuter, ERL and Kelana Jaya LRT train lines, it would be mutually beneficial for the transport hub and the MRT line to be directly linked.

“It is only natural that any future suburban rail connectivity, such as the MRT system, should be linked directly with Stesen Sentral KL, allowing it to progress further as envisioned as the main rail transport artery for Kuala Lumpur,” said MRCB in response to questions from The Malaysian Insider regarding the apparent lack of an interchange between the MRT and the KL Sentral hub.

“Furthermore, the connectivity of Stesen Sentral Kuala Lumpur will add appeal of the MRT as a public transportation option.”

Residents and business owners in the Damansara region have also questioned the location of the stations in the area, saying these would worsen traffic congestion and miss out on major commercial areas that would optimise ridership, and called for the MRT to either go underground and or be rerouted to more optimal ridership catchment areas.

Teo Chiang Kok, director of See Hoy Chan Holdings which developed the popular 1Utama mall in Bandar Utama, expressed concern that the proposed elevated MRT elevated track would bypass high density commercial and residential areas.

“There are no MRT reserves and buffers allocated and the trains will run very close to homes and offices,” Teo told The Malaysian Insider.

“The routing of the elevated track is confined to the routing of Persiaran Surian and the LDP and the stations are not ideally located to cater for highest ridership and misses the high density commercial and residential areas.”

Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents’ association president Mohd Hatim Abdullah objected to the proposed stations both TTDI and Bandar Utama saying that it would exacerbate congestion and that there were better-suited alternatives.

He said that the open spaces of the Bandar Utama driving range between the Curve and 1Utama mall was “perfect” as a mega MRT station could be built underground there, which could link the shopping malls in the vicinity.

“It can serve all the shopping complexes, (like) Ikano, The Curve, 1 Utama and Cineleisure,” he said.

Teo was also favourable to an underground station between The Curve and 1 Utama and said that it could be built together with an underground retail mall which could help offset the cost of construction.

Joe Tan, a spokeman for See Hoy Chan Sdn Bhd which develops the high density Damansara Uptown commercial centre, said that the previous alignment of a Kota Damansara-Kajang LRT line had included Uptown as a stop but it was dropped from the new MRT alignment.

“The whole proposal changed,” he said, adding that See Hoy Chan has previously expressed willingness to sponsor the Uptown train station.

The Uptown area is also set to become more dense, as Tan said that See Hoy Chan is planning to build a boutique retail mall together with an office tower and some residential units in the current car park at the centre of the development.

Hatim also suggested that the TTDI station be relocated to Damansara Uptown as it was a major commercial area.

“It can serve Taman Tun, Tropicana shopping centre, Uptown, DJ (Damansara Jaya), DU (Damansara Utama), (and) Damansara Kim. That area’s perfect,” said Hatim.

Ben Loh, who lives near Damansara Heights, said that while he supports the MRT system and wishes it was built years ago, he was concerned about the location of the stations in the area.

“The station locations seem sub-optimal,” he said after examining the MRT schematics at a public viewing that showed the station called Pusat Bandar Damansara (Damansara Town Centre) being located outside the town centre itself and closer to the junction where Bangsar’s Jalan Maarof and the Spring Highway meet.

The KL MRT system is touted as the most expensive construction project ever undertaken in the country and initial estimates have put the cost at about RM36 billion although officials from the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) have said that it is too early to disclose the actual cost.

The proposed alignment map is up for public viewing until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

They are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Petaling Jaya City Council, Shah Alam City Council, Selayang Municipal Council, Kajang Municipal Council as well as the Bangsar LRT station and the SPAD office in Menara Dayabumi.

The public can provide their feedback on the project via email to or through the SPAD toll free line at 1-800-82-6868.

The detailed environmental assessment impact report has been uploaded for public viewing at the Department of Environment’s website.

1 comment :

:: - LoLLy - :: said...

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