LETTER | In November last year, local media reported that 20 pedestrians were killed while crossing the roads in Kuala Lumpur. This is worrying. I was expecting the authorities, especially Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), to do something about it but till today, DBKL has not done much.
Here are some factors which have contributed to the figures and will continue to rise if DBKL is not taking this seriously.
Firstly, we have below average pedestrian infrastructure in KL even in the city centre. I don't get it what's so difficult for DBKL to have automated pedestrian lights that turn green when the traffic lights for cars at the other directions turn red.
Why are pedestrian traffic lights ignored and not automated as regular traffic lights? Some pedestrian traffic lights in KL are always red and there are no push buttons. DBKL should make sure all pedestrian lights are automated and turn green when they should. Pedestrian traffic lights in Toronto and Singapore are big, clear and they come with countdown. They're all automated.
Then there is the terrible ground level crossing. The pedestrian traffic light in front of Central Market is hidden at the side. I often see tourists around the area and Jalan Tun HS Lee risking their lives by crossing the busy road as they are not sure when and where to cross. Again, pedestrian traffic lights don't work at these places. Such a shame to tourists.
Why not introduce scramble crossing, or also known as X crossing, at busy intersections? The intersection in front of the Bukit Bintang monorail station is the busiest with pedestrians, yet there is still no scramble crossing.
Scramble crossing will give more priority to pedestrians as cars at all sections must stop for pedestrians, like the famous Shibuya crossing in Tokyo. All DBKL needs to do is just install two more traffic lights and paint the roads. It doesn't cost millions of ringgit and pedestrians can have peace of mind when they cross.
Some ground-level pedestrian crossings are long as 300 metres. Anything more than 300m should be converted into a two-stage crossing. It's so dangerous when I often see some pedestrians barely make it to the opposite side when they cross a long crossing and then they look confused in the middle of the road. Bikes can potentially hit them. Again, this isn't hard to implement.
One also notice there is a lack of signages. There are no signboards to show pedestrians where are the nearest train or LRT stations. I spotted a tourist looking lost near the River of Life at Masjid Jamek. He was struggling to find the LRT station, which is just 300m away. I pointed to him where the station is and he asked me how can your government spent so much for this beautiful river project but can't spare a bit to fix signages?
It's also common to see tourists and even locals getting lost at Petaling Street and Bukit Bintang area trying to look for the MRT stations because there are no signages at all within the one-km radius.
Some train stations have no proper pedestrian crossing. I had to call DBKL and worked with its contractor to build a proper ground-level crossing at the MRT Semantan station entrance. Now there's a zebra crossing with signboards to alert drivers. There's also a lack of enforcement by DBKL and traffic police as I have seen motorcyclists using sidewalks and parking their bikes there.
DBKL should be held responsible for ignoring the plight of the pedestrians. Having good pedestrian crossings will also encourage more people to use public transport, improve liveability rankings which helps foreign direct investments, and make it safer fro both drivers and pedestrians.
It's 2019 and it's a shame DBKL has no interest to reduce pedestrian fatalities. It doesn't cost millions of money to fix it.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.