Kuala Lumpur to Scrap All Parking Bays

banning underground parking

Longtime Kuala Lumpur resident and our Automologist, MAC, weighs in on DBKL’s next effort to curb traffic. 

Parking bays in ALL buildings in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, may well become a thing of the past if the Dewan Bandaraya KL (City Hall) gets its way and bans them. Presently, there is actually a city ordinance that mandates that all new developments have to include a set number of parking bays in all new developments. This policy of course actually encourages drivers to bring their cars into the city as parking is cheap and plentiful, which of course adds to congestion. This ordinance looks like it is to be scrapped, although it is not clear whether owners of buildings that currently have parking lots will have to close them.

Now the Federal Territories Minister, Tengku Adnan, believes that it is time to look abroad and model future KL on other global cities that are in the process of implementing this policy. He may have a point. In cities such as London and Tokyo, redevelopment projects are not allowed to include car parking spaces, and in places such as Hong Kong, existing car parks are being bought up to be turned into offices, making some of the lots the most expensive real estate in the world at present.

Read: World’s Costliest Plot of Land is a Car Park.

Being a longtime resident of Kuala Lumpur, it is frustrating to try and get around town during the day and in particular during rush hour, when even a short journey can turn into an epic trip as the city gradually descends into gridlock. So, modelling KL on other global cities could be a good thing, but there is one small detail that seems to be missing and that is the availability of efficient and well-placed public transport systems.

The Malaysian Institute of Planners were less than enthusiastic about the announcement, stating that perhaps in the long-term this could be a good idea, but in the short term, the lack of alternatives give KL motorists/commuters no viable alternatives. Others, though, have been downright scathing of the plan. Local MP Teresa Kok has accused Tengku Adnan of “being out of touch” with the common man and if DBKL is serious, then it should stop approving high-density housing projects in areas without infrastructure, and perhaps show willingness by removing all of the parking bays from the front of the Town Hall in Kuala Lumpur first.

I am now and always will be a petrolhead, but in my heart I do know that cars in towns lead to congestion and we should all try to use less private transport and more public transport. But for now, very sorry, I have a two parking bays at home and a reserved spot at work, so I for one will be driving for many more years to come…and will just have to live with the congestion.

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