Monday, November 17, 2008

Freeze High Density Development in PJ?

A daily sight, especially on LDP where the traffic load
has already exceeded the capacity it was built.

The Paradigm - A mega commerial high density project undergoing construction
next to the LDP which will lead to further congestion to LDP
and its neighbouring roads.  How did the traffic study get approved?

This issue was reported in The Star Metro a week or so ago, which highlighted the fact that Petaling Jaya faces real risks of becoming over-developed, if not already so. The journalist, Tan Karr Wei spoke to a few local councillors - Cynthia Gabriel and Robert Tan of MBPJ, and myself on the issue. My comments are as follows.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua feels that these kinds of developments would eventually lower the quality of life for PJ residents with many long-term implications such as the lack of open spaces, insufficient drainage, traffic congestions, increase in pollution, among others. Pua said that the city was starting to display traits of becoming overdeveloped.

“We are now finding big shopping centres approved by the previous government at busy traffic junctions, or in the middle of residential areas without appropriate access roads and even conversion of open spaces to large commercial and high density residential projects all around PJ. Comparatively, cities such as Singapore or Hong Kong are more built up than PJ but they have excellent accompanying infrastructure like public transportation to maximise convenience and increase livability. The problem for PJ is many of our new developments are approved without any consideration given to public transport infrastructure,” said Pua.

Pua echoed Tan’s concerns on traffic studies: “The fact that these studies were conducted by consultants appointed by developers clearly created a conflict of interest.”

“In addition, they are conducted on the basis that all other matters are equal. This is most often not the case. An example is the traffic study for Tropicana City, which was conducted without taking into account traffic created by a shopping centre a stone’s throw away in Section 19. To make matters worse, the plan is for additional traffic to be diverted into the old Jalan Damansara dividing SS20 and Taman Tun (Dr Ismail), which comes under two separate city councils (DBKL and MBPJ). It also does not take into account that construction work has already commenced for a commercial centre on the Taman Tun side,” said Pua.

He said that traffic study consultants should be answerable to the local council instead of to developers, at the cost of the latter.

Pua said the MBPJ has a role to play in ensuring that there is an overall city masterplan with total planning on the environment, traffic and public transportation network,

However, he felt that the council had a big task at hand where they have to deal with fragmented pieces of land which has been sold or alienated to private developers who would have little or no interest in sharing costs with each other to build public infrastructures like roads.
I'm thinking to coming up with a people petition to the state government to implement a freeze on all new (and yet to be approved) high-rise development (anything above 4 stories?) in Petaling Jaya until such a time when:
  1. The updated and revised Rancang Tempatan Petaling Jaya (RTPJ) is approved by MBPJ and the state government after all necessary due process such as consultation with the people of Petaling Jaya, and

  2. An efficient public transportation system of high quality and frequency is set up to drastically reduce traffic within the city. While by and large, the state government has only bit roles in setting up public transportation services, it can insist that development project plans will only be approved if public transportation issues have been resolved (e.g., new high density projects can only be approved if there will be buses/trains plying the route etc.)
By "freezing" the approval of new development orders, as well as placing strict restrictions on density on those which have unfortunately been approved (but detailed plans yet to be submitted), it will also incentivise the developers to lobby and negotiate with public transport companies such as RapidKL to increase route coverage.

If you stay in Petaling Jaya and are willing to campaign for this movement and promote the petition (e.g., going house-to-house to get signatures for support), and even better, lead the project, please do not hesitate to contact me @ tonypua (at) yahoo (dot) com. I'll then be more than happy to play the role to lobby the state government with your petition.


zewt said...

on the contrary, i dont think there's anything called 'over-development', only bad planning. and bad planning is not only in PJ, it's everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me? I thought PR is running the show in Selangor.

Therefore, you guys in the Pakatan are running the show in the various Majlis Perbandaran and Bandaraya, is it not?

Why does the PR state government need some citizens' petition to get going?

Anonymous said...

Its funny that when we talk about development. It is about building more buildings, more highways, more condominiums but never better public transportation.

Look at Hong Kong or Singapore. Their public transportation system is top class. Octopus (HK) or Ezlink (Spore) card holders will enjoy discount but what do we get with Touch N Go in Malaysia?

Even topping the prepaid cards is so convenient in those countries but we need to pay for topping up the Touch N Go other than at the PLUS toll plaze.

What kind of development are getting here in Malaysia, Tony?

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,
I totally agree with your views on the high density development in PJ, most of which were approved by the previous state government with no regards to the views of the residents. In Damansara Perdana where there is only one access road and traffic at the existing shops and high-rise condos are already bad. With the PJ Trade Centre and other high-rise commercial/condos under construction, I forsee a traffic nightmare soon. What is even more shocking is that the proposed PJ Structure Plan have zoned a huge commercial development the size of Mid-Valley Megamall in Damansara Perdana fronting the already congested LDP! The beautiful, steep and forested hill of Damansara Perdana have been zoned for residential development without the mandatory 10% open space. With a development of 800acres,there should be at least 80acres of parks, but sadly there is none. The steep rocky slopes is being cleared and please do something NOW to save this former Orang Asli Reserve which somehow was alienated to a private company.
The people have voted PKR into power,because the people are fed-up of all these abuses. Remenber you're now in power, so do what is right.

Jarod said...

YB, enough with the development. It is just too much. The traffic flow is not even settle and the block of condo and office unit is now in progress. How worst could the jam be when all this is completed?

The current LDP is getting worst day by day. There is not a single day of it without JAM on working / school days.

Just too develop. Kindly look into it and reduce the development. If can, get us some alternatives road. NOT TUNNEL PLEASE.

NEO said...

Dear YB,

A developer is in the process of building two block of 17 Stores commercial building at Dataran Prima without MBPJ approval! What should we do?

Will you going to help the residents?

Anonymous said...


I totally agree with you. We are living in a condo along Jalan Utara and we are very affected by the project that is on-going on the piece of land belonging to the Lutheran Church Malaysia & Singapore (LCMS)

We face jam everyday along the 2-lane Jalan Utara and lorries that turn in and out of the project site are creating a lot of traffic congestion for the other commuters. Not only that, water from the project is now spilling on Jalan Utara causing many deep potholes to appear.

I would like to say how disappointed we are with LCMS for "selling" their piece of institutional land to MALTON in exchange for their Bible Study College that is being built right now on Jalan Utara.

LCMS will receive a total of RM 19.5 million in mix of cash and properties in exchange for that piece of land from MALTON. We are appalled by the action of LCMS and we question how they manage to change the status of their land from "institutional" to "commercial".

We wish that someone can shed light to us on this. Could you help us YB?


Anonymous said...

agree with zewt, it is all about bad planning... our LRT is a joke... 5 different system in a small city like KL and its surrounding? The first step is to integrate them, look at how singapore's MRT works... Mahathir and his cronies each want to supply their own system, causing this rot to happen, together with his baby proton... we've been screwed.

I bet the only way to solve this problem is to integrate Monorail, Putra and Star LRT into a single system, even if it means we have to relay the lines and close the LRT for a week or two... better suffer now than later.

Tony, we need architects in the town planning department... seriously. not zakaria the train/gate keeper.

Anonymous said...

TONY ... PLEASE TAKE A DRIVE AT night... why all the mamak stores putting chairs and table along the road... ARE U WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE.. or u still waiting for SEP 16th... PLEASE DO YOUR WORK>>

Anonymous said...

mamak stall along the road are illegal yeap i agree. but it gives public some space to eat, loaf, and get away from stress places. some places that is not very costly and open air to sit.

sending out mppj staff to go after this people will only encourage bribery at later stage.

probably restrict the no of table or how far away from their store they are permited to put those table. will help alittle on the drive thru

have them occupied on those table help biz and occupying their time. rather then giving them no place to go at (at lower cost) and do other nuisance things

Anonymous said...

hi tony
must be difficult to fix other people left over problem in pj and we as residents understand that, i believe u guys can make a different to pj and time will tell, most goverment fail by greed, coruption and abuse of power, the biggest fear would be fear of losing power
hope 2009 more changes and improvement to pj

Anonymous said...

Vinon - We don't even have to send MBPJ officers to saman these people. I've seen a few truck loads of MBPJ guys drop by Murni SS2 (where seating stretches almost half the block!). The "leader" and his guys waited for the shop owner to walk out and have a "chat", and they left after a few handshakes. Hmm?

Mr Pua, Sec14 is a mess with a severe shortage of parking space. People are taking up the 1st lane of the 3-lane road fronting McDonald's for parking! Today a few cars and myself nearly rear-ended a bus that stopped right in the middle of the road, in the 2nd lane, to pick up passengers. Where are the truckloads of MBPJ officers??? As far as I'm concerned, I've only always seen them move in packs at night, and they always go to mamak stalls.