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Must KK wait till 2022 to be liveable?
Published on: Sunday, January 08, 2017

By Joshua Y C Kong
City Hall (DBKK) is optimistic that Kota Kinabalu will become a liveable city by 2022.

Two master plans, namely the Kota Kinabalu Public Transport Master Plan and the Traffic Improvement and Urban Transport Master Plan for Kota Kinabalu Central Business District (CBD), will help make it possible.

DBKK’s Traffic and Public Transport Department director Kalvin Liaw said both plans aimed to improve the city’s image, which is the centre of attraction for local and foreign tourists, as a first-class city.

I would like to ask why do we have to wait for 2022 to be a liveable city and not now after KK was made a city by the turn of the new century? Are we so incapable to do good things and upgrade our livelihood despite much public expectation?

We are aware that DBKK’s grand plans to transform Kota Kinabalu’s transport infrastructure is very much dependent on availability of adequate funding of the proposed projects in the two master plans.

I hope that this dream would be a reality but this dream may be hard to be realised if by 2022, our city has already been “paralysed” by the prevailing scenario which is lots of traffic jams in the Central Business District (CBD) and some ring roads just outside the city.

DBKK may have identified the very urgent needs in the city but it is futile to do anything to transform it as soon as possible.

It is nothing new with what DBKK is saying that it would do and that had been going on for decades past but the traffic and parking problems are worsening.

Actually DBKK has been approving too many high density buildings (some already in use and some still in progress) in CBD within the mile in Kota Kinabalu.

With the rising and excessive number of cars prior to the GST in 2015 and now on the roads and the streets in CBD has been congested most times of the day, especially in peak and non-peak hours in both incoming and outgoing movement of vehicles.

There is also that traffic within CBD with Signal Hill on one side and the sea on the other, the narrow business area could be “blocked” by bottle necks at both ends namely Sembulan and Tanjung Lipat when many high density buildings exist.

Another observation is that in townships outside CBD, most cars/vehicles are double parked for lack of parking space.

The high density buildings in CBD considered from Sembulan to Tanjong Lipat, we can see in recent years many of them –some already in use and some in various stages of construction and some still on drawing boards –likely to be all ready prior to 2022, how would KK cope with the traffic movement at all hours?

Even the beautiful Signal Hill facing the Environment Protection Department is now facing a hotel project.

Some would say prosperity comes with traffic jams. Is it really worth the effort and the costs concerned if traffic jams are excessive and unproductive time in the vehicles not to mention the environmental consequences?

DBKK also mentioned about the very costly specially built cycle lanes in KK but it is hardly used by the travelling public. The money could be used for other mass transit options.

I think the two master plans are also very costly and implementation can be stalled due to lack of adequate funding from the Federal Government given the current financial scenario lacking transparency and fair distribution.

So I would urge DBKK to come up with other options when two master plans are not implemented according to schedule or as soon as possible to have KK as a liveable city in 2022.

Joshua Y C Kong

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