Residents voice objection against Bangsar-Damansara elevated highway

Kuala Lumpur mayor Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan at the dialogue with members of the Bukit Bandaraya Residents’ Association. Also present were Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Damansara and Bangsar residents have objected to Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) approval for the building of the Bangsar-Damansara elevated highway.

At a dialogue with the Kuala Lumpur mayor Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan today, they said the 1.34km three-lane carriageway would only make traffic congestion in the area worse.

The elevated highway will stretch from Jalan Semantan to the junction of Sprint Highway with Jalan Maarof, shortening the journey from Bangsar to Pusat Bandar Damansara.

Two months before last May’s general election, then Federal Territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the project was scheduled for completion in June 2020

Bukit Bandaraya Residents’ Association adviser M Ali claimed that no holistic studies had been carried out on the project.

“The planners must look at the whole area in totality and not in isolated packages,” Ali, who is also the deputy chairman of non-governmental organisation Selamatkan Kuala Lumpur (SKL), said at the dialogue at the Bukit Damansara Community Centre.

“What we can see now are DBKL and the developer seemingly ‘solving’ the problem by moving the congestion from one area to another.

“The Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) study presented to us today does not take into account traffic that would be dispersed into areas such as Bukit Damansara, Medan Damansara and Bangsar from the elevated highway.”

A Bukit Damansara resident, who said he wanted to remain anonymous, suggested that DBKL cancel related works which had not taken off yet.

“If you want to talk about compensation on works which have begun with the elevated highway, why not take the money DBKL will be contributing and channel it as compensation?

“We don’t want the elevated highway. It will not solve traffic congestion. Worse still, if it isn’t going to solve congestion, why use taxpayers’ money to build this highway?”

According to reports, DBKL would contribute RM134 million of the total cost of RM211 million, with RM66 million borne by UKAS (Public-Private Partnership Unit) and RM11 million by the developer, Pavilion Damansara Heights.

Another resident, John Koh, questioned if any study had been conducted on the proposed exit points at Jalan Gegambir and Jalan Belimbing, adding that traffic was already congested in the two areas.

Almaz Rahim, a resident on Jalan Beka in Bukit Damandara, said there are two Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations within the Pavilion Damansara Heights development.

“Building the highway goes against the construction of the MRT stations,” she said.

Another resident said DBKL should have hired its own consultant to conduct a Traffic Impact Assessment on the project.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, who was also present at the dialogue, said it had failed to achieve its aim of furnishing the residents with details of the elevated highway project.

“I am also surprised that after four previous engagements with residents, I still hear them asking questions as to where the elevated highway will start and end,” she said.

Yeoh also asked DBKL to review the current plot ratio as the current plan was based on a transit-oriented development (TOD) plan.

“Because it is based on TOD, the developers assume that many people will be using the MRT.

“But the reality is, people can’t even access the MRT stations and are relying on their families to send them there. This means that the traffic has not reduced.

“I went to Medan Damansara and found that they have been requesting for shuttle buses. The housing area right next to the MRT does not have access to the station,” she said.

Mayor Nor Hisham said he was reliant on DBKL staff to engage with the public on such matters.

“When I joined DBKL, I saw a lot of things which I did not agree with. But I have to engage with the 10,000 staff in DBKL. They know more than me. I’m not trained as a planner.

“While I have to speak up against many issues at hand, the KL mayor is not like those in Manila, London or Sarajevo (who are elected). I was appointed and not elected,” he said.

Met later, Nor Hisham declined to elaborate on the status of the elevated highway project.