Transit-Oriented Density approach for development of Greater Kuching

IMG_2996-1_0(In his first Winding Up speech as Sarawak’s 6th Chief Minister at the 18th Meeting of the Dewan Undangan Negeri which concluded on 22nd May, YAB Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg defined and explained at length the various initiatives that he has started since he took office on 13th January 2017).

The Sarawak government will be applying the Transit-Oriented Density (TOD) approach in its strategic plan to build the Greater Kuching area into a place that is attractive for technology-savvy talents to live and work in.

In line with Sarawak’s push towards the digital economy, the Chief Minister explained that Sarawak needed to attract dynamic and innovative technopreneurs.

In order to do so, Kuching city shall build sufficient capacity to house the expected increase in talents, which will form the critical mass and heartbeat of the city.

The Chief Minister elaborated that “the core structural plan for Kuching city and for the Greater Kuching area must be the integrated public transport system, which will be the catalyst for the future growth of the city.”

He added that this public transport system will be an integrated one, with the Light Rail Transit (LRT) as the core and complemented by the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), taxis and private cars as well as designs for cyclists and pedestrians.

The key benefit of building a proper public transport system is affording the residents a lower cost of living when affordable housing is combined with cheap public transportation.

“When Kuching is properly planned, with good connectivity in ICT and transport, the natural rate of growth of the population will rise with more Sarawakians staying back or coming back to live as good jobs can be found at home,” he said, adding that it will also be more attractive for foreign talents to live and work in Kuching.

The Chief Minister suggested that the initial basic LRT structure should link the Kuching International Airport to Kuching city, Kota Samarahan, Damai, Padawan and Serian.

Communities will be built around LRT and BRT stations, complete with schools, food courts and commercial centres.

“If we do not start building our LRT now, our land cost will increase in future and we may need more roads, more highways as well as more flyovers to be built which will cost us billions of ringgit.”

The development of each mode of public transport system, be it the BRT or the LRT, will be guided by the expected demand and the suitability of each mode to serve the needs of the people.

The LRT will be developed in stages to serve as triggers for the development and growth of Kuching and its surrounding areas, which is expected to have a population of 1.2 or 1.3 million by 2030.

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