KL set to reduce parking bay numbers, increase parking charges to boost public transport

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan said that the idea of reducing parking bays was that it would encourage people to take public transport. Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan said that the idea of reducing parking bays was that it would encourage people to take public transport.

The number of parking bays in Kuala Lumpur is to be reduced to ease traffic congestion, according to Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan.

He said the idea was to reduce the number private cars on the road and encourage people to use public transport.

“We are studying this plan thoroughly in terms of its impact and will implement it after the completion of (Line 1 of the) Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project in 2017,” he told reporters after opening the 7th International Conference on World Class Sustainable Cities 2015 held in Kuala Lumpur today.

Loga said the plan also included imposing higher parking charges and higher development costs for parking bays.

He noted that projects like MRT and Light Rail Transit (LRT) enabled people to move without negotiating traffic.

He also said that revitalising the older parts of the city that are no longer economically viable is the only way to accommodate the continual growth of the city.

The seventh edition of the WCSC this year is on “Urban Regeneration Through Smart Partnerships”, and has attracted more than 500 participants and over 20 government ministries and local councils from across Malaysia.

The conference brings together stakeholders, developers, planners and architects, city authorities and officials, and representatives of residents’ associations.

WCSC 2015 is jointly organised by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur (REHDA KL), the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) and the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM), and is supported and endorsed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

“Each year we have seen the adoption of many of the ideas from this annual conference and master classes,” said WCSC 2015 organising chairman Datuk N.K. Tong, who is also the past immediate chairman of REHDA KL and the group managing director of Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd.

“WCSC has inspired all of us to continue to explore better, and more sustainable ways for the growth of KL.”

This year’s conference speakers are the director of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, the US, Stephen Luoni; director of planning and environment, Gold Coast, Australia, Dyan Currie; chief executive officer of CityMart, Barcelona, Spain, Sascha Haselmayer; and journalist, moderator and innovator from Malmo, Sweden, Catarina Rolfsdotter-Jansson.

The WCSC series, which began in 2009, is designed to showcase successful practices and experiences of world class cities to better understand what makes cities sustainable places to live in, and to inform policy making.

A previous conference case study, the Cheongyecheon River restoration project in Korea, was a prelude to the KL River of Life project, while the experience of Curitiba, Brazil, has informed the transformation of Kuala Lumpur’s bus, MRT and pedestrian projects that include covered walkway systems.

The take-home message is that smart partnerships between local governments and people are key to successful urban regeneration.

“The city is ultimately for its city dwellers, and feedback and aspirations of the people will better help city officials direct their work in delivering tangible benefits for the people,” he said.

Tong said the four speakers showed examples of how urban regeneration can be achieved in an impactful way with smart partnerships between the business community and city dwellers.

“Sascha’s presentation was especially eye opening. It gave a fresh perspective on how city governments around the world have started to develop smarter procurement processes, not by asking for pricing for narrowly specified solutions, but sharing very clearly articulated problems, and inviting bids for solutions that could solve the problems,” he said. He added that the wide use of technology and social media enables socialising and soliciting for solutions.

“Sascha also said you have to acknowledge the problem before you can solve it. Go to the younger people who have different opinions and different solutions and ideas,” he said.

Rolfsdotter-Jannson talked about her hometown in Sweden — one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world, allowing her to bike 350 out of 365 days a year, even during winter. She said public transport in Malmo is prioritised over cars and the city centre is car-free. It takes just 30 minutes to cycle across the city of 320,000 people, she added.

Meanwhile, Luoni encouraged tapping university students to solve problems, and Currie elaborated on transport hubs as the backbone for ongoing development.

“While many of these themes have been presented at previous WCSCs, it was refreshing to see these common themes re-emerge and how different cities interpret them differently and successfully,” Tong noted.

The master class sessions that were included in the conference programme and held on Sept 30 also went well. Tong said there was engagement between DBKL officers, residents’ association representatives, and industry professionals, in concurrent half-day sessions led by Haselmayer and Luoni. The sessions explored regeneration opportunities in the Sungai Besi and Chow Kit areas.

“While the focus was on these two areas within KL, the process of consultation, discussion, brainstorming and decision-making was just as valuable, and DBKL officers went away with valuable feedback to study more options,” he said.

Workshops tomorrow will discuss the regeneration potential of the Sungai Besi and Chow Kit areas, involving the key stakeholders such as local authorities and residents' associations.


News source: The Edge and The Malaysian Insider, 29 September 2015

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