URBAN development projects along the
LDP in Petaling Jaya are turning the highway from a major cross-city arterial route into a destroyer of neighbourhoods along its path.
This is especially true where the highway connects the Federal Highway with the NKVE/SPRINT.
At the already congested Motorola junction, there is the RM8 billion iCon City project. Traffic dispersal at this junction will pose a huge problem.
A kilometre away at the Western Digital junction, a bus/taxi terminal has been proposed by the PJ City Council on land originally planned for a public library.
Half a kilometre further, PKNS is proposing to redevelop its sports complex into a multi-billion ringgit minicity with residential and commercial tower blocks.
Adjacent to this at the former site of Kelana Food Centre, another mixed development undertaken by a public-listed company was approved but is stalled as the developer could not meet traffic dispersal requirements.
At the Jalan Bahagia junction 1.5km further, Paradigm Mall has just opened. Traffic congestion is likely when a hyper-market and a cineplex open soon. And three office tower blocks are still to be built on the same site!
Why does the council approve projects which are congesting the LDP and destroying neighbourhoods along the way such as Kelana Jaya, Seri Setia and Damansara Jaya?
These projects have adverse impacts on the environment, quality of life, people mobility, the costs of living and doing business not only in those areas, but the whole of PJ.
Does the MBPJ require a Total Environmental Impact Study for each of these projects? While much hue and cry is raised over industrial development projects such as Lynas, urban development projects which have serious consequences on the lives and livelihood of millions go on without much fuss.
Perhaps it is time that a joint review panel be set up to look into the vetting and approval of urban projects in PJ to ensure that public and the communities' interests are safe-guarded and not overtaken by private and commercial interests.
Such a body should have representatives from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the Malaysian Highway Authority, Town and Country Planning Department, the council as well as urban traffic experts.
MBPJ alone is unlikely to have the capability to comprehensively assess the socio-economic impact and viability of these projects.
Its past records indicate that it does not seem to have the willingness to do so. A.M.Y. Petaling Jaya