Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mother of all Traffic Jam...

[The happening last Wednesday]. Yes, it is a traffic of an unprecedented scale. Where else but in my city of Kuala lumpur. Well it just happened and I thought that I should write about this happening while it is fresh in my memory. I have live in this city for some thirty four years and never had I seen and got stuck in a traffic jam of this magnitude. It happen at after six this evening. I was resting at home, for normally I do not got out at this time of the day unless there is an invitation to a dinner or something like that. But today as I was about to take my evening bath, our daughter call and said that she is caught in a traffic jam somewhere in Cheras. She is on her way back from the University where she work and was planning to pick up her daughter at the Glaneagle Hospital. Her daughter, our granddaughter is seeing the dentist today. I sent her there at four and that her mother would fetch her at five thirty. But the phone call from her changed everything, she say that she would not be able to pick up her daughter since she is caught up in a massive traffic jam and ask me to do that instead, since our house to the hospital is just five minutes away. My spouse told her it is OK and that I would pick her daughter. I then finished taking my shower and dress up. My spouse say that she might as well follow me to pick our granddaughter.

Without thinking much I took the Honda and drove on and as we got to the road leading to the Ulu Kelang road near Ampang Point I saw there were so many cars leading to the Ulu Kelang Road, so I divert into Ampang Point hoping to do a short cut and get into Jalan Ampang and from there in mere minutes I would get to the Gleneagle Hospital and pick our granddaughter and back home is less then fifteen minutes. Well, I thought wrong, here the traffic is the same, cars were bumper to bumper and hardly move. I move on following the traffic and time passes by fast and in about an hour I am still stuck in the vicinity of Ampang Point. I call our daughter on the cell phone and she say that she is also crawling. I told here that we also got stuck here and that not to worry, I would pick up her daughter. We move on like snail, and eventually got into Jalan Ampang near the Ampang Point. I thought it would be just OK from here onward but I was wrong again. The traffic jam continue to get worst, cars were bumper to bumper again and continue to move like snail, actually hardly moving at all. Then I saw that it is not only at this part of Jalan Ampang but the MRR 2 on both ways are also jam with traffics. I inch forward and listen to the Radio, the Lite FM station and eventually the programme were interrupted with news of a massive jam all over the city. Well I thought that it only at this part of the city but it seem that the other parts of the city is going through this as well. Hey!! what has happen to our city, with all the new roads, the elevated Highways and the Smart tunnel, we still get jam like this!!. I hear a caller to the station requesting for song to be dedicated to her friends who go stuck in traffic somewhere near the Mid Valley Mall. That is on the other side of the city. So it look like we are not alone in this crazy traffic jam on the 25th day of July 2007.

We left home just now at 6.30 pm and now it is almost at 8pm and I am still no where near the Gleneagle Hospital. Our granddaughter call and I told her to hold on and that we are near but not sure when we would get there. While driving I though of how do I get home faster after fetching her, so I told my spouse that I would drive back using the Elevated Highway instead. With that in mind I ease on and eventually reach the Hospital at 8.35pm. It took more then two hours to get to this destination, which usually I would take just five minutes. What a drive!!. I pick our granddaughter and got back into Jalan Ampang but this time did not turn left but instead turn right. Great, there are yellow lines on the road and incoming cars are usually caution when approaching such box of yellow lines. I took the opportunity to use this area of the road and move on slowly. Eventually the other cars which were part of the jam on the other side of the road give way. I cross over and took the road leading toward the city, the opposite direction from our home. From here I took the right lane and slowly moving toward Jalan Jelatek. From the Hospital to the junction of Jalan Jelateh again it is the same things, cars were still crawling both ways. I move on slowly following the slow flow of traffic and eventually got to the junction of the road and wait for the traffic light to turn green. Twice the light changes but I still could not get into Jalan Jelatek. I just took it easy for I know somehow that by taking this road and eventually getting onto the Elevated Highway I would get home faster than using Jalan Ampang, the other way. With the traffic light turn green again I move on and this time got onto Jalan Jelatek. I move on taking the left lane and again here got stuck in the traffic moving toward Setia Wangsa, Melawati and onward. I kept my cool while chatting with my spouse. Up in front I saw the exit toward the Elevated Highway. I am happy and knew that once on the Elevated Highway by going both ways and paying tolls twice we would get home fast.

After almost forty minutes on the return journey I got into the Elevated Highway. Drove on toward the KLCC, went through the Smart Tag lane of the toll and got out of it without stopping. Friends that's the beauty of using the Smart Tag. You do not have to stop to pay the toll, the Smart Tag do it automatically. I drove on and after the exit toward the KLCC parking bay, proceed on and made a U turn and back on the other side of the Elevated Highway toward Ampang. The end of this Highway is Ampang with one exit toward Ampang Jaya and the other toward Jalan Ampang, toward outer Ampang. I move on, at all the exits I saw cars bumper to bumper and for those going forward it has no effect. I drove on with ease but driving slowly following the other cars and eventually I got to the exit for Ampang Jaya. Well, on this side of the road there were hardly any traffic but on the other side it is still bumper to bumper inching toward Jalan Ulu Kelang and other outlet to the city. The third image above shows the traffic at this section of the road. I drove on and got to our daughter's house and this time it just take one hour. On normal day it just take to and fro to the Hospital and back just less then fifteen minutes. Today it takes me three hours. What a day on the road!!. Three hours wasted on that road. Our daughter quipped that, with that numbers of hours driving we would be in Batu Pahat in Johor by now. Batu Pahat is our Son-in-Law hometown. Well that is life, the unexpected happened and that had been my day. In a traffic Jam. In my city of Kuala Lumpur. A day in history as far as I am concern. It is one of those day, for life is like that. We actually would never know what would happen next. That had indeed been a Traffic Day!!!. Have a nice day.


Josh said...

problem of having 3 national cars, 2 favourite Jap car makess and plenty of bad city planning and no effiecient public transportation

Antares said...

Arteriosclerosis sets in when our diet is too rich and our thought patterns become too unhealthy (self-centered and kiasu). When this occurs on a national scale, the problem is reflected in the sort of traffic jam you just described! Actually in the digital era (indeed, since the dawn of telephony) I would estimate that 70% of human activities and transactions can be conducted remotely via phone/internet and other computerized systems. The idea of commuting to and from an office is utterly archaic and is, in fact, counterproductive and unnecesarily wasteful of energy and human resources. If at least 50% of office-workers were encouraged to work from home it would dramatically free all roads of "rush-hour" congestion and cut down fuel consumption by leaps and bounds. People would spend more time with their loved ones, experience less stress, have more privacy in which to think independent and original thoughts, and
enjoy an overall increase in the quality of their lives. The stupid waste of time and energy symbolized by the sort of traffic conditions you described (which, alas, are becoming almost a daily occurrence) would soon be only a nightmare of our collective childhood. The bonus, of course, is that as our streets become clearer and cleaner - so will people's minds and lives - and that would inevitably signal the end of mediocrity and misgovernance as an enlightened and
liberated populace will not tolerate oppressive and authoritarian rule. So you see, that's why no government in power today actually intends to resolve any problems, because it would lead to their own undoing :-)

Pak Idrus said...

josh, thanks for the visit and the comments. Well, maybe that could be one of the causes. Anyway we have to live with it and I do not believe there is a short term solution. I hope City Hall would do more to inform the people of such situation when it occur, so that those who are as yet to go out, delay there entry of the city, thus would reduce such happening. Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

antares, thanks for the visit and that very informative comments. You are indeed very knowledgeable on the subject of human evolution and that of the culture of the Power that be. I am glad we think alike on that front.

Malaysian and others of our species everywhere on this planet are fascinated with this mode of transport we call Car. Personally I love new car and passionate about it and enjoy driving. I change car every three years, so that I am always with a new car/latest technology. I do have a classic Volvo though, which is the other toy I play around.

I do not believe we could stop our species especially Malaysian who just found their freedom to travel the way they like best of owning a car. It is part of their evolution of the way to move from point to point.

Agreed fully on your thought that on this digital era we could do more works without been in an office. I think it is happening. It is the beginning of a new way of working. Our concept of working has alway been in an office environment out of the house. I think it would change as we progress. It is already so in some countries in the Scandinavia.

In this age of cybersphere culture, our species would evolve faster than ever before and I think that in no time our species would evolve into a total different being in the not too distance future. A being with a mindset totally different from that of the present generation.

Have a nice day

Antares said...

Don't mean to be long-winded, Pak Idrus - but the subjects of traffic congestion and physical transportation (one of the main reasons I left KL in 1992) has preoccupied my thoughts for a long time. There's a big difference between the JOY of driving for pleasure - and the absolute necessity of spending three hours each day stuck in traffic, in a car designed to cruise at120kph, crawling at snail's pace. I'm not campaigning to abolish private transport (which, to me, includes ponies, giraffes, helicopters, bullock-carts and elephants :-) - although I'm convinced we really ought to have outgrown internal combustion engines running on toxic fossil fuels ages ago. Actually, I'm envisioning an end to "cari makan" and non-wealth-generating "work for work's sake." I invite you to read a brilliant poem by my childhood hero, R. Buckminster Fuller. My warmest regards to you!

Pak Idrus said...

antares, thanks. Now that I retired and in my golden age,I no longer travel in the traffic jam to work. That day was a day in passing on my journey of life.

You did made a wise move and settled down on a piece of paradise call Pertak. I know that place well. In the seventies the Pusat Latihan Belia Pertak is a place where we conduct leadership courses for our youth. On weekend we would bring our spouse and kids to wade and bath on that stream where the water is cool and crystal clear. Well, they took that place away and now things has change in the name of progress.

Just last week, after twenty years I pass by Pertak and was nostalgic of that enchanting place. Sad but happy as well to see there is now a large lake that was not there before. Nature do have a way of getting back its paradise. Thanks for the poem, I did enjoy it. Have a nice day.

phil said...

Interesting that you mention BP. :-)

Driving in Batu Pahat nowadays is also a nightmare.

Places that used to take 5 mins, now you have to take 20 mins. OK, maybe during weekends lah.

Pak Idrus said...

phil, thanks for the visit and sharing your experiences of traffic jam. Well, that is what we call progress. I still love my city of Kuala Lumpur, jam or no jam, it is the first world out here.

I visited your blog and found that you do have an interesting blog there. Do keep taking images of those old shop houses. In no time it would be gone forever. Keep blogging and enjoy life in cybersphere. Have a nice day and take care.