Tuesday, May 06, 2008

KL Sux

Specifically, I am referring to the KL traffic. I am increasingly convinced that the KL road traffic system was designed by a bunch of chimpanzees at Zoo Negara during their free time. And the road signages and arrow paintings were done by a bunch of pre-schoolers with big white brushes and UHU glue.

This evening I took 50 minutes to drive from Hotel Maya on Jalan Ampang to Kar Long restaurant on Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah, which is just off Jalan Pudu -- a total journey of 5 km. That's an average speed of 6 km/h, slower than walking. Jalan Imbi was at a standstill for minutes on end. I didn't manage to find out why.

On top of that, the road signs were exasperating. The new "road signs" that have been put up tell me everything except what I want to know. They keep pointing me to other roads which are many many turns away, e.g. every other sign points to Jalan Tun Razak or Jalan Bukit Bintang, but there's no sign telling me exactly what road I am on, or the name of the road at the junction I am approaching. I keep wondering, am I on Jalan Kia Peng, or Jalan P. Ramlee? I see a sign that points ahead to Jalan Imbi, but when I arrive at the junction of Jalan Imbi itself, there is no sign confirming that it is what it is. Have mercy on me, I am still new to this mish-mash of one way streets in KL.

Why can't we just do it like the Americans, and signpost EVERY intersection with big bold signs telling me the name of the road immediately in front and left and right of me. They should mount the signs on the traffic light posts, and not tuck the signs somewhere in a shady corner. How do they expect motorists to see the microscopic signs while negotiating traffic and avoiding other manic drivers.

I think seasoned KL folks just memorize the turns without referring to road names. Ask any KL dude for directions, and he'll most probably say turn left, turn right, go straight straight straight, turn right at Shell, then turn left at the mamak. No mention whatsoever of proper road names. So what's the purpose of road signs then? They are just put up by advertisement companies who sell the ad space on the reverse side of the road signs.

The other thing that nearly killed me was arrows on the road. They are all painted at the point of no return, i.e. by the time I see the arrow, it is too late to change lanes. And for goodness' sake, why do they keep painting straight arrows on turning lanes?! If it is a turn-only lane, then the turning arrow should be painted 200m before the junction, to give motorists time to change to the correct lane. But that still wouldn't solve the problem of queue cutters.

In the end the thing that saved me was the Rimman UBD Street Directory that I was flipping through while stuck in gridlock, coz I made a wrong turn no thanks to the street signs, but quickly regained my bearings after consulting the Street Directory. I made an accidental "detour" down Jalan Kia Peng, then righted myself at Stonor and Conlay before rejoining Raja Chulan and turning right to Imbi.

I was also praying that God would teach me true patience. Notice I said "true" patience. It's easy to be patient when one is not tested. I did let a total of eight cars cut in ahead of me at various junctions, but I also almost got rammed sideways by a taxi driver who didn't believe in braking early although I was already halfway across the lane. He did flash his headlights at me, like, that would help to prevent a crash??? Well, there was one nice guy in a brand new S Series who waved at me and let me merge ahead of him along Jalan Raja Chulan. It's good to know there are still some nice people left in the world. :)

But anyway the food was very good, and it was a treat by my uncle's friend from Singapore. So, for now, I am appeased. :P


Stephanie said...

i hate to sound like a cynic, but i'm thinking the guy in the spanking new S Series probably let u cut in cos he was afraid you'd hurt his car.... hehe
anyway, i TOTALLY agree with you on the road signs...that's one reason why i have never driven into KL town without my dad or hubby next to me...i'd rather take the LRT.

HL said...

Going downtown is a test of patience.
BTW it's an S Class, not S Series.

little black dress said...

hey you, i havent read ur blog for weeks since im so swapped with work. good to know u get to leave fairly early from work, but sad to hear your rantings bout the horrendous traffic jam. no chance that u could take the lrt to work?