Friday January 18, 2008
Massive bumper-to-bumper jam everyday at Kuen Cheng
By BAVANI M
When the new school year started on Jan 3, the students, parents and teachers of SJK (C) Kuen Cheng 2 were happy and excited with the new school building at Jalan Kerayong Aman in Taman Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur. Their joy was short-lived as the chaotic traffic situation at the new location has caused them untold misery since that first day of school.
This is the question that over 1,000 parents are asking the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
The parents are now suffering the consequences as a result of bad town planning and want answers from the DBKL.
The school is located on a site facing a narrow one-lane road, which leads to a dead end.
Parents dropping off and picking up their children are caught in a massive bumper-to-bumper congestion that tails back all the way to the Le Chateau condominium along the Syed Putra highway.
According to M. Shashi, who has two daughters studying in the school, she has to go very early to queue up just to send them to school and return at 11am to queue up again to pick them up at 1.15pm.
“This has been my routine since Jan 3. I have spent hours in the car just waiting for my children and now I have decided to bring work with me,” she said.
Shashi, a tutor, has turned her car into a mini office, filling it with her books, work papers and work plans. Her laptop is always by her side. She also stores buns, cakes and bottles of water in case she gets hungry and thirsty.
“This way I don’t feel like I’m wasting time. At least I get some work done,” she said.
Businessman Allan Ang did not believe his wife Allison Yang when she told him that she has to queue up for three hours everyday just to pick up their seven-year-old son from school. So he decided to take over for one day.
“I was shocked to see how early some parents come just to get a space to queue up and just how long the queue can get. You can tell who came at what time by just looking at the queue,” he said.
When StarMetro visited the school on Wednesday at noon, the one-lane road leading up to the school was already lined with cars tailing all the way back to the Syed Putra highway.
Parents were seen with umbrellas, water bottles and munching snacks while waiting for the school session to end. Many were spotted inside their cars working on their laptops. Some were knitting and some reading books.
Housewife Sharon Lim was spotted inside her car helping her five-year-old son Daryl Wong finish his homework as they wait for daughter Kimberly to finish school.
Andy Yap, another parent, was on a motorcycle busy ferrying some parents who had parked their cars quite a distance from the school as they refused to queue up.
Many parents, mostly mothers, had no choice but to park their cars far away and walk up to the school. Once they collect their children, they and the little ones have to walk downhill to the car.
The lucky ones have their maids carry the school bags and water bottles for the children.
According to Ang, Jalan Kerayong Aman, which leads up to a dead end, is just too small to accommodate heavy traffic.
“It was utter chaos on the first two days of school and the situation became really bad, resulting in some minor disputes and one of the parents decided to hire the services of Rela officers at her own expense to help facilitate traffic flow,” Ang said.
“What I would like to know is how anyone could approve the school being built here when the infrastructure is not in balance,” Ang said, adding that it was sheer bad planning.
“Location is a crucial criteria when embarking on any kind of venture and this is a bad location,” said a parent who did not wish to be named.
“How can the authorities approve a school being built here?” he asked.
The parent said that he was considering transferring his children to another school.
“We will only help out until the end of the week. After that we really don’t know what the situation is going to be like,” Rela officer T.C. Ng said when asked how he was managing the situation.
“Parents must co-operate and work together, or else this problem will never be solved,” Ng said.
He said that eight Rela officers had been hired to help out with the traffic dispersal since last week.
Ng said that parents were told to queue up and turn right into the school basement area to pick up their children and turn right again to exit at gate A.
“But some parents refused to do that and instead would take a U-turn which only makes the situation worse,” he said.
StarMetro’s attempts to speak to the school authorities proved futile as the teachers refused to comment, except to say that it was a matter for the DBKL to resolve.
Parent May Yin said that she did not blame the school as it was not its fault.
“This is the government’s problem. The bottom line is that we cannot go on like this. It is stressful for the children and for us,” she said.
A guard at the school said that due to the congestion, Alam Flora had yet to collect the garbage from the school premises.
According to a parent who did not want to be identified, the stench from the garbage room is overwhelming and she is worried about the hygiene and health factors.
When contacted, the Federal Territories Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Yew Teong Look said that he was aware of the problem. He has visited the place twice.
Yew said that he was arranging a meeting between the school board and the owner of the land opposite the school to discuss the possibility of widening the road in front of the school.
“I am confident that this problem can be solved,” he said.
The DBKL did not respond by press time.