Sunday, September 24, 2006

Unsolicited advice

In today's Star, we had Shaipuddin Shah Harun, the CEO of SPNB (the dudes who own Rapid KL's infrastructure) shed some light about the new Damansara line and Subang and Puchong extensions. I think it is a very interesting read and it sounds as if SPNB is trying very hard to avoid the mistakes of the past. Good luck!

Read the article here.

The Star meanwhile had this really silly introduction under the headline:
Since the Government’s announcement of a RM10bil allocation to upgrade the Klang Valley transport system, various ‘experts’ have offered unsolicited advice. But according to the man in charge, the final route will be well plotted, writes Suhaini Aznam.

Well excuse me Suhaimi, but the last time we "experts' didn't offer unsolicited advice, or at least our advice wasn't heeded, we had the following:
  1. Abdullah Hukum LRT station, and not Mid Valley LRT station
  2. Masjid Jamek being such a mess
  3. KL Sentral being separated from the Monorail
  4. Putra LRT stopping short of the Federal Highway, rather than crossing into Subang Jaya
  5. Putra LRT running on one system, and Star LRT on another - and now we have a problem of too many trains on the wrong system
And the so many, excuse me, fuck ups.

Well, I remember one advice that was listened though. Star LRT was toying with the idea of having air-conditioned coaches. As in, one of their initial plans was to have its LRT coaches not have air cond, but with open windows. Ha! Ha! Ha! Luckily a lot of noise was made... and that plan was no longer a toy.

Ok, back to SPNB and its plans. It looks like SPNB is well aware of plenty of problems from the legacy systems and they are quite keen to avoid repeating them. Shaipudin sounds as if he has done his research in understanding what ought not to be done and what cannot be done.

For example he says the following:
  1. it is unrealistic to expect bikers to use LRTs in the near future
  2. sound pollution is a problem with guideways
  3. rivers should be avoided as they cause floods
  4. soil conditions are something that has to be checked, especially at Subang which is granite
  5. tunnels are expensive - up to 3 times as expensive
  6. private land is a messy affair
  7. integration at stations is a major concern
  8. differing rail gauges jas also been thought about
  9. further development at Sentral and Jamek should be avoided
  10. SPNB is "fully supportive of local content" while being "very pragmatic" about foreign expertise
  11. Viability, global competition, returns on investment and economies of scale are all important considerations
  12. safety is another major issue
Okay. Undoubtedly it doesn't take a genius to point this out. But at least, the attitude and outlook is much different than during the Maha-crony days. You know, can do, can build, buildoze through anything. Resulting in the mess we have today.

That's why I am more optimistic than ever.

Speaking of which, KL flooded again yesterday. And this reminded me of a video I saw on YouTube recently:

And some photos I saw on a Ministry of Agriculture (?) website:

I won't fully blame the LRT lines upstream for causing all this floods (the video was taken at Pasar Seni, which is downstream, past Masjid Jamek), but I'm pretty sure a lot of it can be blamed on them. Can you imagine, with that sort of water level on the Klang River trying to pass through the narrow Masjid Jamek LRT station?

Anyways, the supposedly SMART tunnel is supposed to save KL from more of this hell.

Please don't repeat this mistake, okay?


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