Breaking barriers for the disabled in PJ New Town
From left) Petaling Jaya City Council environment development department assistant director Dr Abdul Ghalib Sulaiman, Sharipah Marhaini Syed Ali and Zone 13 councillor Anthony Thanasayan looking at a survey map.
PETALING JAYA: In less than a year, PJ New Town will be transformed into a disabled friendly, greener and barrier-free commercial centre.
This is the target the Petaling Jaya City Council aims to achieve in PJ New Town by May 2010 under the Section 52 Zon Bersih programme.
The programme is headed by Zone 13 councillor Anthony Thanasayan.
Anthony will be assisted by a sub-committee comprising directors and staff of the council's Engineering, Landscape, Building Control and Environment Development department.
"Residents will be able to see a big difference in the business centre which houses various commercial banks and restaurants.
"We will not only have a cleaner, greener PJ New Town but we are also continuing our commitment in making it barrier-free for the disabled and the elderly.
"In the future, PJ New Town will be a model for other business areas in the city.
"What we do in Section 52 will be replicated in SS2 also," Anthony said yesterday.
During the walkabout in PJ New Town yesterday, council development planning department director Sharipah Marhaini Syed Ali said the council would work closely with restaurant and shop operators.
This includes the possibility of providing ramps in designated areas.
A survey in the area which was carried out three weeks ago showed that only one quarter of restaurants and shops in the area has ramps, built on their own initiative.
"We will have a discussion with the shop owners on the possibility of providing ramps at convenient areas for the disabled.
"At the same time, we are studying the suitable areas where we can place flower pots and plant trees to beautify the area.
"Our programme also includes giving fresh coats of paint to more than 20 blocks of shophouses, ensuring the cleanliness of public toilets and installing grease trap in eateries.
"Roofs over car parks for the disabled will also be built," she said.
Anthony, meanwhile, expressed shock over remarks made by some residents who questioned the money spent on upgrading a 500-metre stretch of pavement along Jalan Gasing to cater to the disabled.
He described the RM180,000 project as one of a kind in Malaysia where a special universal designed pavement, including a Pelican crossing, was built to cater to not only the disabled but also the elderly and the general public.
"I am saddened by the remarks. It should not be about the cost as building bylaws state that there should be disabled-friendly facilities.
"These people should have a broader view on topics such as this. It is this kind of attitude which are keeping the disabled at home," said Anthony.
The Jalan Gasing project will also be a model to other departments of development, planning and engineering involved in building disabled-friendly infrastructure.
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