KUALA LUMPUR: Exciting regeneration plans for KL Sentral include the construction of elevated bicycle lanes connecting the transit hub to the Perdana Botanical Gardens.
The plans were revealed by Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), developer of the hub, during a visit by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to its new project, Nu Sentral, a shopping mall that connects the hub to the KL Sentral monorail station.
MRCB group managing director Datuk Mohamad Salim Fateh Din said the transit hub, which connects the monorail, light rail transit (LRT) and KTM urban railway, is in need of a major upgrade as it was built more than a decade ago.
“It was built 14 to 15 years ago. New landscapes have come, including changes in safety requirements, consumer behaviour and lifestyles,” he told reporters yesterday.
MRCB group chief operating officer Mohd Imran Datuk Mohamad Salim said the regeneration plans involve three major components.
The first, Mohd Imran said, is the construction of a deck-elevated structure to connect various spaces.
“It will connect the station to Muzium Negara and Lake Gardens (Perdana Botanical Gardens),” he said.
“It will have water features, bicycle tracks and so on. Basically, what has been done in Boston, New York and certain Scandinavian countries,” he said.
The deck will sport stalls and kiosks involving food and art.
“It’s just a better usage of space. We will not be touching the roads at all like Jalan Damansara. We will be maximising air space for this component,” he said.
One such example, albeit less commercial, is the “Hovenring” — an elevated, exclusive bicycle roundabout in Einhoven, the Netherlands. It connects various sections of the neighbourhood, allowing cyclists to bypass busy highways and roads.
In New York, the High Line is an elevated railway transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side.
It features lush horticulture, artwork, seasonal food vendors, community programmes and views of the Hudson River.
In Boston, unused public spaces above railway tracks were converted to public parks.
The second component involves the expansion of the station’s capacity.
Currently, Mohd Imran said KL Sentral is serving 160,000 passengers a day, exceeding its 100,000 capacity.
Under its regeneration plans, MRCB aims to increase its capacity to between 200,000 and 250,000 passengers a day.
The third component, Mohd Imran said, involves creating better dispersal schemes for development and other forms of beautification.
He said the company is in the midst of preparing and sending its proposal to government agencies for approval.
“If all goes smoothly, we can begin work in six months’ time,” said Mohd Imran, adding the company is targeting completion of works by 2018.
Land Public Transport Commission chief executive officer Muhammad Nur Kamal said the rise of commercial areas acting as bridges between public transport stations is inevitable as consumer behaviour has changed.
“With Nu Sentral, it is that commercial component that was missing in KL Sentral,” he said.
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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 6, 2014.