Residents demand AES cameras in Melawati

KUALA LUMPUR: The Road Transport Department (RTD) may install Automated Enforcement System (AES) safety cameras by year-end at a school zone in Taman Melawati following a request from residents and parents' groups.

Fearing for the safety of the students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Melawati 2 (SKTM2), an online petition was launched last week demanding Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and RTD to place AES cameras in front of the school.

Hours after the petition went viral, Liow responded swiftly by instructing RTD and Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) to conduct a comprehensive road safety study at Jalan Taman Melawati.

It is learned that the Transport Minister was delighted that the residents and parents have requested for the Ministry to intervene by implementing effective measure focusing on child pedestrian safety at the school zone.

RTD enforcement director Datuk Valluvan Veloo said an emergency site visit was initiated together with Miros, Public Works Department (JKR) and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) officials last Wednesday, a day after the petition was launched.

"I will convey our first impression on the road safety issue involving pedestrian and school children safety as well as the traffic situation to the Transport Minister and JPJ director-general Datuk Nadzri Siron very soon," he told theSun.

"Beginning this week, Miros will undertake detailed study and observation at the location when the school session resumes," he said, adding that JKR and MPAJ will also be providing their findings and recommendations before Hari Raya.

The study by Miros will include data on spot speed, daily traffic volume, 85th speed percentile, behavioural observation of the road users as well as other details such as the road characteristics and design.

According to the online petition "We Want Road Safety Camera AWAS in Taman Melawati to Protect the School Kids" on change.org by Melawati Community, the attitude of drivers and bikers of committing illegal U-Turns and refusing to slow down and/or stop at pedestrian crossing in front of SKTM2 have caused road fatalities over the years.

It was reported that two school kids (siblings) were mowed down by a car while using the pedestrian crossing in front of the school.

One was killed and the other brother suffered serious injury.

The petition also claimed that there have been near miss crashes in front of the school due to the attitude of errant motorists speeding and performing U-Turn.

Asked about his observation on the illegal U-Turn, Valluvan said: "Definitely dangerous because it is creating backlog of traffic and may also cause rear-end head-on collisions with incoming cars from opposite direction."

He was disappointed to witness scores of motorists performing illegal U-Turns despite the presence of three road traffic signs along the stretch warning drivers not to do so.

"Looks like AES cameras may be required here," he opined.

The online petition by Taman Melawati residents to the Transport Minister and RTD outlined three reasons for the AES cameras to be installed in front of SKTM2:

(i) To enforce the 30km/h speed limit around the school zone;

(ii) Halt the red light runners at the pedestrian crossing and the traffic light junction;

(iii) Prevent drivers and motorcyclists from making illegal U-Turn in front of the school.

Supporter of the online petition Siti Maryam Salleh wrote that it has been a daily battle to use the pedestrian crossing.

"My children attend SKTM2. There are cars that refuse to acknowledge the crossing and/or the traffic light, and would speed up along the stretch where school children are crossing," she pointed out.

SKTM2 Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) committee member Khairuddin Zain claimed that the PTA had sought police help over the road safety issue in front of the school.

"No response (from police)," he added.

A Taman Melawati resident stressed that the illegal U-Turn is posing clear and present danger to the school children and other motorists.

"I live here. The U-Turn is the main cause of traffic problems. I strongly support this petition and firm enforcement against traffic offenders," said Izyan Ismail.

At press time, the petition has garnered 623 supporters since it was launched last Tuesday.

View the petition here