KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will no longer proceed with a plan to turn Jalan Datuk Sulaiman in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) into a six-lane highway after residents protested.
Instead, the new plan will see an alternative route connecting the Sprint Expressway off Jalan Damansara and a proposed high-rise development in Taman Rimba Kiara, bypassing the middle-class neighbourhood altogether.
“Earlier we had proposed to have Jalan Datuk Sulaiman extended to six-lanes from Penchala Link to Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad.
“But after engagement with the TTDI residents, many protested against it so we requested the developer to build a road that goes straight in and out of their development,” DBKL’s executive director of planning Datuk Mohd Najib Mohd told Malay Mail, referring to the developer of Taman Rimba Kiara project.
He said the alternative route would not affect TTDI residents.
However, TTDI residents remained sceptical when contacted for comment to the new DBKL rerouting plan.
The proposed high-rise high-density project in the Taman Rimba Kiara, have caused anxiety among TTDI residents who argued that the plan to broaden Jalan Datuk Sulaiman as an access road would affect the ambience and beauty of the town that rose out of a rubber estate in the early 1973 and won the prestigious FIABCI Award of Distinction for residential property in 1994.
Highway critics have claimed the proposed six-lane expressway will split the neighbourhood into two and negatively impact the current lifestyle of the TTDI community.
Save Taman Rimba Kiara Working Group committee member Leon Koay believes a flyover from Jalan Damansara into the Taman Rimba Kiara project would still pave the way for more developments that would eventually either encroach into TTDI or spill over into the township.
“It is a creeping development, just like what happened in Bangsar where the works took place in pieces [sic].
“The flyover is basically an outlet for traffic to enter TTDI and when they allow such development to take place, it is only a matter of time before they have to widen the Jalan Datuk Sulaiman as initially planned,”he told Malay Mail.
He said if the shelved highway plan return in the future, the many senior citizens who call TTDI home have a tough time making their way to their regular haunts.
“There is a mosque on one side of Jalan Datuk Sulaiman. If this highway goes up one day, it will cut off the easy access to the mosque,” he predicted.
Masjid At-Taqwa, built in the 1980s, is the only mosque in TTDI.
Taman Tun Residents Association vice-president Clinton Ang, 43, said the construction of the six-lane highway would be more, if not equally, damaging than the Taman Rimba Kiara project as it would alter the TTDI landscape.
He said aside from the loss of the mature trees along Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, the proposed highway would aggravate the loss of the Taman Ramba Kiara flora and fauna if the plan to build eight serviced-apartment towers gets the greenlight.
“Many have moved to this township for its greenery, where the trees lining the road have been planted for over 30 years,” said Ang who has lived in TTDI for 20 years.
Firdaus Nisha Muhammad Faizal, 36, said the proposed highway would create a lot of anxiety and stress over security concerns when construction starts for the human inhabitants and the wildlife fleeing their natural habitat, resulting in more rare animals becoming roadkill.
“There are a lot of aspects that need to be looked into in terms of the ecosystem, such as where will the captured water from the non-permeable surface go when it is washed down the highway? How about the sound pollution?
“The purpose of the highway is to disperse traffic. But the government had already invested in the MRT, which has a station passing though TTDI and Bandar Utama,” said Firdaus, referring to the Mass Rail Transit service.
She said the highway will result in increased traffic speed and bottlenecks when motorists exit, adding that the authorities will then have a new headache with the subsequent congestion.
The planned development of the six-lane highway and a flyover were initially part of the Taman Kiara Rimba condominium project to accommodate the population explosion in the national capital city from 74 to 979 people per acre (0.4ha).
The highway will require extensive expansion works to connect Jalan Datuk Sulaiman with Penchala Link.
DBKL had announced the development of the serviced apartments, which will be built by Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, in June 2016 but was not included in the original plan then.
TTDI residents only learnt about it when filing their objections against the Taman Rimba Kiara condo project which is built on land owned by Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, a foundation chaired by DBKL.
TTDI residents lost their court application to temporarily freeze the development of the Taman Rimba Kiara development on December 14.