iSpeak: No Pedestrians – Why Walkway?

By A. Jeyaraj

State of the art walkways with security fencing have been built along the roads in Buntong roundabout at a cost of nearly half a million ringgit. The new construction looks nice and the tar pavement is neat. At the entrance to the walkways, there are two slabs on either side. The gap between the slabs is not very wide and a person carrying bags in both hands may not be able to walk straight through. The sand used to fill the trench of the railing is not levelled and not of the same texture and is an eyesore with the new construction. Everything looks neat and nice except this.

I asked Vigneswaran, proprietor of A1 Supermarket which is near the roundabout about his opinion on the walkways. In return, he asked, “Who walks these days?” I was standing near the roundabout for an hour or so and did not see anyone walking. There was a stream of customers shopping and they all had their own transport. Previously, customers parked their cars along the road and walked across to the shops. Now because of the fence, they have to walk a longer distance. In ‘bolehland’ everyone can own a car.

For the past year, I frequently go to this place to buy lunch. I also regularly go to Buntong Clinic and have to drive around the roundabout. I have not seen anyone walking along the roads. The walkways basically lead to nowhere. There are no houses nearby within walking distance.

There is, however, a silver lining. Space has been created in front of A1 supermarket and hawkers can put up stalls. Nowadays many people are doing a part-time business to earn extra money.

I have not heard of any snatch theft in this area. Most people know each other and snatch thieves are not stupid to carry out their activities in a place where they are vulnerable. They would be caught and bashed up.

MBI has constructed walkways and safety fences along the roads at the Medan Kidd roundabout. This is a necessity because people regularly walk along the walkways. The roads here are busy. People walk from the bus station to the railway station and can become victims of snatch thieves. This is not the case in Buntong.

Normally university students are made to survey traffic flow before decisions are made on constructing roundabouts and installing traffic lights. I wonder whether MBI had made a study on the movement of people along the roads in Buntong Roundabout.

MBI should have had a public hearing with the residents and ask them about their needs in their neighbourhood. The councillor and assemblyman should have been consulted. I spoke to the councillor who was non-committal and gave me the name of the person I should contact in MBI.

One of the main problems in Buntong is traffic congestion on the road in front of the market. It is frustrating to drive along the road in the mornings. MBI should have solved this problem first. This is what the residents like to see and have complained about the situation.

Public funds should not be spent on projects that serve no purpose.


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