By far, the best bicycle lane i have ever tried in Malaysia. The RM38 million pedestrian cum cycling path stretching 23.5km from Tanjung Aru to Universiti Malaysia Sabah was funded by the Federal Government through the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority SEDIA, it is also part of the City Hall strategic plan 2011-2015 The construction for first phase began middle of 2012, and it was completed end of 2013. I had the privilege to test ride on the first phase.
The project is divided into four parcels with Parcel One being a 5.2km long cycle-way from Sabah Port to Likas Bay.
- Parcel One, 5.3km, which will take about 12 months to complete, will include a bicycle shared path, bridge, covered bicycle parking, lighting and signages, children playground, benches, rubbish bin, transit seating and bicycle rack.
- Parcel Two will entail a 12.6km route stretching from Tanjung Aru to Sembulan
- Parcel Three, a 4.5km route within the city’s Central Business District. Upon completion, Parcel Three will also have amenities such as public toilet, shower, lockers and barriers.
- Parcel Four will be a 3km route ending at Tun Mustapha Building or UMS.
The project seems to be on track it seems, by now they should be working on the path from Tanjung Aru to Sembulan. The entire 4 phase is scheduled to finish by 2017.
Google map illustrated as bottom.And it seems to me that several state or local authority has rolled out their bicycle route masterplan.. the first i saw was Penang’s, then MBPJ’s PJ cycleway project, and now this. Note the master plan bottom.
Anyhow so some of the field reports from the test ride. Yes i flew to KK this time with my Brompton. Indeed a nice minimal landscape for the pedestrian cum bicycle path. The LED lighting design for illumination at night is also just right, not too close to cause glare, not too far to cause blind spots.
Cycling here is a serious nature therapy, having cycling through the well designed lane and enjoying the sea breeze. I suppose that aside from the compliance of nicely done track, what matters a lot in a successful bicycle lane is portrayed well here, Integration. A stand alone bicycle lane may solve the infra needs of a cyclist, but that will be cyclist centric and does not seem to serve the general public and thus will be not prioritize when it comes to funding. The design of this project has clearly showed the integration of functional space and programs. Of course, it’s a waste to build just a bicycle lane at the water front when there are so many purpose to the location. Speaking of Common Spaces…
Some of the illustration as above, there are squares, or bicycle stops (with PV) along the way. This can be seen at the concept diagram bottom. It’s essential to have nodes along the street as a meeting point. The whole point about a bike lane is not about building one straight path, it shall be one that has a lot of pockets of programs, able to allow the user to experience the social integration, to take time and notice their surroundings. These nodes can be a simple square, or a shelter, or any significant functional area as indicated below.
Along the nodes also you will find this information board elaborating more on the project.
Best of all, there is a chart showing you the destination distance in every node.
Besides the nodes, you also have mini work out gyms along the path way. There are bench, bicycle parking rack, trash bin and your work out station. It is a good strategy to decentralize and scatter these different work out gym across the route, hence making sure that the entire route has equal provision of security as you have presence of people along the route. I can testify that as i was cycling back during evening, and there are significant amount of people jogging, or just gathering with a deck of card etc.
And yes, no to bicycle-centric approach design as pedestrian should be the one to be respected first if we are talking about designing for the public. This is the kids playground, am quite sure that the big fonts stood up for its reason.
Also another point to emphasize here is the various entrance points to the waterfront path. Each of this entrance connects directly to the adjacent road as an entry point. Do note that the curb is well designed to prevent motorcycles coming in while allowing bicycle to go through easily. There are gates for lorries maintenance access (only when needed) as well which i presume to help out in maintenance of the water front, beach cleaning etc.
An illustration of the bike, bench shelter area, and public toilet.
More pictures on the path, i would say that there is definitely a different experience of cycling across the 5.3km distance of phase 1, there are areas with more natural shading, some which is more open to surrounding, some which passes by the food court.
What can be Improved?
More Natural Shading, it will be nice to have ample over head shading while ensuring the sight to surrounding is still satisfying. Also do note that some of you may argue that the bike stand does not function as a proper lock as one can only lock their bicycle wheels but not the entire frame. I suppose that is the intention because one should not lock the bike there for long (there’s CCTV in functional areas btw..)
More Programs perhaps, though i recognize this is still early stage and there are yet stalls at some of the squares, but the turn out rate is encouraging, i have seen a diversified group of people using the path.. jogging or cycling anything..
Why i just love this project so much?
Because it is one waterfront path design is one where can cycle to it, park your bicycle at the station, and just jog along or jump into the sea for a swim, or you can hang out with your friends. Yes, common spaces.
Or you can just use it for commuting purpose. This is by far the safest route linking from KK town Jesselton Point to Universiti Malaysia Sabah or One Borneo area if you are walking or cycling as the main road beside has little buffer space for you as well as fast moving vehicles (min 60km/h).
As a whole, i am satisfied with the physical design of the project itself. Time will prove if people still start flooding it or either wise. Previously i also wrote on my point of view on the bicycle path in Ara Damansara HERE. Anyhow, below is the presentation document from EPU.
Feel free to visit my public photo album for the said development HERE
Some news source here