Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kuala Lumpur Cycling Lanes

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Kuala Lumpur Cycling Lanes
Cycling in Kuala Lumpur has grown by leaps & bounds in these past few years, it's more common place these days to see cyclists on the roads of the city again. Many has taken up cycling again, some for commuting and many for recreation and exercise.
Of course one cannot compare the proportion of cyclists back to decades ago; then cars were not so affordable and the bicycle was a major means of transportation. Probably due to the increase in traffic and the corresponding higher accident rates, cycling for commuting had then decreased. Although there are no statistics published, the latest increase in the number of cyclist can be seen by the rapid growth of bicycle shops around the Klang Valley.
In line with this rise in the cycling population, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) has taken the step to create it's first inaugural cycling lanes. Yes, perhaps there are better cycling infrastructure in Shah Alam and Penang; but it is Kuala Lumpur with it's busy and heavy traffic that needs these cycling lanes the most.
Launched by the city mayor on 14th April 2015, the cycling route was planned with information from regular surveys carried out by the Cycling Kuala Lumpur Mapping Group.

Let's have a look at the lanes, starting with the map below:

The lanes starts from Dataran Merdeka runs along the Klang River for most of its length and ends near the Mid Valley Megamall. For most of its length it is a dedicated cycling lane; some sections (a major stretch in Brickfields) are shared with other traffic while some others are shared with pedestrians. At close to five kilometres it is not very long and can be completed within half an hour (one-way), but it will be good to take one's time at certain stretches to admire the beauty there.


From Dataran Merdeka the route starts off with a short stretch of shared lanes at Lebuh Pasar Besar. These shared lanes are marked out with distinct bright blue road paint with bicycle logos spaced at regular intervals.



Lebuh Pasar Besar to Dayabumi.
A right turn (at Menara Patriot) from there leads to a half-kilometre stretch running along Klang River, on the opposite side is the Central Market. This is a nice shady stretch lined with paver blocks, below on the storm water drain walls of the Klang river are interesting large wall murals. Presently, ongoing construction on an adjacent lot has marred the beauty of this stretch. Some damage to the edges of the lane had also occurred arising from this construction activities. This stretch is shared with pedestrians and ends at the Dayabumi Complex.


At Dayabumi, the lane crosses Jalan Tun Sambanthan. There are many of these blue painted crossings, the one here seems to be worn out by the the heavy traffic passing through.


On the other side is a wide pavement cycling lane; this is supposed to be a shared pedestrian/cycling way. Oddly a fencing at one end barricades pedestrians from entering, pedestrians have to hop onto the road to get over to continue their walk on the other side of the fence.


Dayabumi to Jalan Sultan Sulaiman.
This is a nice stretch to cycle on as the lane is with properly levelled concrete with broom-brushed finish. On one side a fencing provides safety from traffic zooming pass along Jalan Tun Sambanthan. On the other side is the Klang River with large murals on their tall walls.


This section ends at Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, just after the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. A set of traffic lights regulates the bicycle crossing.


Jalan Sultan Sulaiman to Tun Sambanthan Station.
From here the tracks get slightly more interesting. It's a stretch that does not have any roads nearby, just pure cycling lanes for a while. Construction is a mixed of tarred pavement and concrete ones. The area is green but there is not much shading over the lanes.


It runs below the Jalan Damansara Highway with blue steel railings to provide for the safety of cyclists. (Unfortunately, some uncivil people has seen fit to dump construction debris here. Rain has washed these onto the lanes).


Vandalism have struck! Metal thieves using power tools have sawn off and stolen a section of the railing. Fortunately, some civic-minded has putt hazard tapes there.


Other than those debris and stolen railing; this section although narrow is a pleasure to cycle on.


Towards the end of this section (near the KL Monorail Tun Sambanthan Station) the lane is a short covered stretch shared with pedestrians.


Brickfields Shared Lanes.
Starting from the KL Monorail station and ending at Jalan Berhala (near the Buddhist Institution) the lanes here are on the most part shared lanes that weaves through several roads here. Most of the lanes are painted in blue.


At some sections there are no blue lanes, just bicycle logos painted onto the road; this is probably because of the narrow roads.





A dedicated stretch of lane here skirts a construction site. Perhaps it's the construction activity here that is causing the lanes to shear away from the river and inhibiting the implementation of dedicated lanes here.

Brickfields to Midvalley

This is the section that will probably appeal to cyclist the most. It starts with a gentle ramp from Jalan Berhala down towards the banks of the Klang River...

... and runs beside the river through much greenery. Newly planted areas...


... pass a traffic light.. (note barricades have been installed to prevent motorcyclists from entering the cycling lanes)


... and through existing landscaped and shady areas.


The lane then runs parallel to the former (but unused motorcycle lane).


At the Jalan Ang Seng intersection. Before construction of these bicycle lanes, this was the point where many cyclists use to connect to the motorcycle lanes running parallel to the Federal Highway. Now with the lanes, cyclists can avoid the heavy traffic at the Brickfields area.


Crossing the Klang River via an existing bridge. Cyclist have to be slightly careful here the construction movement joints fo the bridge are a bit wide.


After that the lanes run below elevated railway tracks...


... before ending near the Mid Valley Megamall.


SAFETY FEATURES

Other than railings on the riverside and roadside, traffic lighted crossings, etc., some other features have been added to provide for the safety of the cyclists:
Bollards prevent other traffic from entering the cycling lanes.


Bicycle crossing signage.


Reflective hazard signs warns cyclists of obstructions.


Concave mirrors at blind corners.

Looks like cyclists can look forward to more cycling lanes as DBKL has plans for lanes from Wangsa Maju to Taman Melati and also another one from Wangsa Maju to Taman Muda.


Some suggestions for improvement:
- Rest areas, sheds at scenic areas.
- Speed limit.


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