PETALING Jaya’s multi-lane One-Way Loop (OWL) roads are a disaster for motorists that has resulted in a high number of traffic accidents and Petaling Jaya Utara MCA has urged for the OWL to revert to two-way streets.
PJ Utara MCA division chairman Tan Gim Tuan said motorists and pedestrians alike felt unsafe on the OWL because of speeding vehicles that often weaved in and out of lanes.
“Most people in Petaling Jaya think the OWL is a disaster. It is better for Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to immediately revert the affected roads to two ways, as presently there are vehicular accidents happening too often,” he said.
“OWL was bulldozed through without a Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) and since then, there have been many complaints from the public about the dangerous situations they face along the loop. There is much finger-pointing but the actual problem is the road design,” he elaborated.
Tan said vehicles travelling above 60km were dangerous on roads that were used by pedestrians.
“Petaling Jaya has a sizeable number of senior citizens who walk from their homes to AmCorp Mall, crossing Jalan Timur or Jalan Selangor to PJ New Town’s commercial area where restaurants, clinics, banks and utility companies are,” he pointed out.
“Our office has received numerous complaints regarding OWL. It has made it dangerous for those going to and from Istara Condominium and Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital in Lorong Utara B, Section 52, where motorists coming in or out of the road are faced with fast-moving vehicles along Jalan Utara.
“The situation is worse at night,” he said.
He also noted the confusing road markings from Lorong Utara Kecil, passing Astaka Sports Complex, to the end of Jalan Utara near St Paul’s Church.
Tan highlighted that drivers refused to stop for pedestrians even at designated crosswalks along Jalan Timur and Jalan Yong Shook Lin.
“We used to have calmer roads but now it is not safe for pedestrians here. Motorists are beating the traffic lights at the pedestrian crossings in Jalan Timur and Jalan Barat,” he added.
Tan said motorists were also not following the one-way route in Jalan Yong Shook Lin.
“Drivers can be seen going against traffic flow from the petrol kiosk at the corner of Jalan Selangor and Jalan Yong Shook Lin turning into Jalan Taman 7/6 residential area, while those wanting to exit into Jalan Barat will drive against the direction of traffic coming from Jalan Yong Shook Lin,” he said.
Tan proposed that the roads be returned to two-way traffic, replace Sultan Roundabout with a traffic-light intersection and install traffic lights at the end of Jalan Barat for traffic entering Jalan Utara.
He explained that a two-way road would usually have a median and that made road users felt safer.
He said that before the one-way loop came into existence, more senior citizens from Sections 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11 walk to PJ New Town but now the fear of being knocked down had lessened that.
According to Tan, the Road Safety Audit Stage 5 (final stage) as recommended by MBPJ’s traffic consultant for safety improvements on the OWL was never carried out.
He said the one-way loop had made things more difficult too for those unfamiliar to the area.
“The OWL has created more traffic in residential areas as vehicles drive through Jalan 12/15, 12/14 in Section 12 to get to Jalan Utara, driving past Istara Condominium via Lorong Kecil Utara to enter Federal Highway and Jalan Bukit 11/2 where Ehsan Ria Apartments, SK Alam Shah and University Towers are located,” he added.
Two-way plan mulled
The proposal to switch Jalan Yong Shook Lin, a 550m stretch in the one-way loop (OWL) back to two-way is being considered, as it will eliminate confusion and stem reported decline in business.
Currently, traffic along that street flows one way from Jalan Sultan to Jalan Selangor.
Multiple ad-hoc brainstorming sessions held by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) had heard ideas for a possible change to two-ways for Jalan Yong Shook Lin, as there had been incidences of motorcyclists and drivers from Jalan Selangor going against traffic flow to enter Jalan Taman 7/6, the original route before 2014.
Other motorists drive against the traffic from Jalan Yong Shook Lin into Jalan Barat, which had led to many accidents mainly between motorcycles and cars.
MBPJ secretary Johary Anuar told StarMetro, “Various ideas are being discussed to improve the OWL that will make it easier for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
“The idea to revert Jalan Yong Shook Lin to a two-way street is one of numerous suggestions being discussed at department level. It will be discussed in depth at the Infrastructure and Traffic sub-committee meeting late next week,” he said.
A councillor said returning Jalan Yong Shook Lin to two-way traffic was good but rumble strips must be installed to slow down traffic and the designated traffic-light crossings must be maintained.
Johary disclosed that elevated foot bridges equipped with escalators were among suggestions being considered.
“Elevated foot bridges with escalators involve costs and detailed planning. It may have to be done phase by phase. We are also looking at the safety of pedestrians especially senior citizens crossing Jalan Timur, Jalan Selangor and Jalan Barat,” he added.
Most businesses along Jalan Yong Shook Lin and even in Jalan Tengah around Menara MBPJ have expressed support for the two-way street.
All PJ Residents Association Coalition (APAC) advisor Mohamed Umar Peer Mohamed agreed that having Jalan Yong Shook Lin made a two-way again would be good economically and would allow people easy access to the utility companies.