Article from The Star : Worst traffic rating but still acceptable, says consultant
At the press conference with YB Gobind Singh, YB Khalid Samad and YB Loh Gwo Burne
THE Selangor Appeals Board hearing over the USJ 6 Telekom Malaysia land issue last Friday raised eyebrows when a traffic consultant said a development project can continue even though traffic in some of its surrounding areas was rated ‘F’.
Traffic consultant Amir Hamlan Abdullah from AZ Traffic Management Consult, who was engaged by the land vendor and developer, defended his traffic impact assessment (TIA) report done in 2008.
He told the Appeals Board it was still acceptable for the development project to continue even though most of the junctions were rated ‘F’.
The F rating is described as ‘saturated traffic’ at its worst.
“I agree that by 2020, the area will be a mess and most of the junctions will be at levels E and F,” he said when asked by lawyer Gobind Singh Deo who represents the residents who are appellants in this case.
When questioned by Gobind, the consultant said the number of cars generated from the project would not be high and hence will not have a big impact on the roads.
Also in attendance current MPSJ councillor for USJ 6, Rajiv Rishyakaran
“As roads in this area will reach saturation point, the additional traffic will be diverted elsewhere. This traffic problem can also be tackled and improved with public transportation when the LRT comes into Subang Jaya, USJ and Puchong,” said the consultant.
The TIA and traffic impact on surrounding neighbourhood were topics heavily deliberated and heard by the board comprising president Datuk Abu Bakar Awang and members Ho Khong Ming and Datuk Azmeer Rashid.
The appellant in this case is resident Lee Wan Nam while the respondent is the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) and interverners being TM Facilities Sdn Bhd and Pujangga Budiman Sdn Bhd, who are the land vendor and developer respectively.
Residents are challenging the State Planning Committee and MPSJ’s approval for the proposed development of one block of nine-storey commercial block with two floors of sub-basement carpark in November 2008.
The residents also contend the land was designated as a Telekom exchange or utility reserve but land vendor TM Facilities has since sold it to the developer for commercial purposes.
Earlier, USJ 11 resident Dr Leong Choon Heng who is also the head of transportation and logistics programme for the Malaysia University of Science of Technology in Kelana Jaya from 2002 to 2010, was called in as witness.
“Based on the TIA report, I opine the conclusions made do not reflect the data that is being collected.
“There are internal inconsistencies in the report and I am of the opinion the proposed construction can only make the surroundings worse,” said Leong.
He contended that USJ 6 was already a mature residential neighbourhood and with the main road jammed up, more cars would be dispersed to neighbourhood streets.
“Small roads and parks will suffer the spillover effect in the form of increased cars that may be speeding.”
MPSJ legal department director Anita Abd Jalil then told Leong since he could not be considered a qualified professional, his own counter-report could only be taken as a public opinion.
“Do you know the MPSJ has approved for the main egress and ingress of the project to be at the main road and not the side road as not to affect the residential area?
“Also, the entire project is fenced up. Do you also know we approved the development based on the developer has provided more carpark spaces than what the council has expected?” she asked.
The lawyer representing the land developer and land vendor, Abu Bakar Jais, asked Leong if he agreed the details collected and reflected in the report is quite extensive and if it was a fair report.
Leong reiterated the conclusions made are inconsistent with the data collected, and said he only thinks it is fair in terms of the extensiveness of research and the methodologies used for the data collection.
Abu Bakar Jais said his client is providing 158 parking lots and the building is for use of office only.
Board president Abu Bakar said there will be a minimum 100 cars coming out of the building once ready, although not all at the same time.
“A backflow would be created because cars from inner roads will have to stop to give way to cars on the main road that are at a gridlock. There will be those that will find alternative side roads seeing the congestion on the main road.
“So the question is how do you stop outside drivers from going into the neighbourhood? And by then, will be level of service in this area be F+++?” he asked.
He also admitted the conclusions made are inconsistent with the data collected.
Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, who sat in the proceedings, said she is disappointed with the State Planning Committee for not calling for an independent traffic study and chose to rely on the developer’s traffic study.
“In June 2008 when there was a public hearing on this project, the residents had asked for an independent traffic study to be conducted since they do not have resources on their own. However, they were not given one.
“The developer did its traffic report in September 2008 and in November, the project had been approved. The traffic report was only given to the residents in January 2009,” said Yeoh.
She said as the project is a conditional development, the residents were never notified the details of the conditions as they were dealt directly between MPSJ and developer.
The site is still under the title of Telekom although it had sold part of the land on a conditional sale to the developer.
Yeoh said in 2005 and 2006, MPSJ had ruled that the land cannot be subdivided purely because it is a Telekom reserve and questioned how a utility land can be sold.
This case has had a long history following the approval given in late 2008. The aggrieved residents filed an appeal in March 2009 and in October 2009. There was a revocation on the approval but it was not endorsed by the State Planning Committee.
However, the residents’ joy was shortlived as several MPSJ councillors and its then president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan cancelled the revocation in an ad-hoc meeting on April 2010.
The hearing resumes on March 30.