The case of the @KKCity Skybridge

Trying to unpack it based on my on-ground experience/analysis & the study done by @KotaKitaSabah research team – shedding more light on the context, local pedestrians’ culture & exploring better and less costly alternatives.

Disclaimer: Not experts’ view. But merely voicing out as a community, for the community. We have the right to know if our infra reached the standard as paid, & actually serves the community. This is an exploration.

Bah, kita coba.
1.Overview of the project

Timeline: 4 years. April 2017 - Sept 2021. Dateline extended due to few issues (article)
Cost: RM31.5mil (funded by UKAS) + RM4.7mil (funded by Sabah Govt)…
Objective: To enhance pedestrians’ experience & boost the property values & commercial activities around the area.
Scopes: >400m length, Upgrading of 2 roads, 20 air-conditioned retails, escalators & lifts, CCTV, lighting
Part of the Urban Transport Master Plan in Kota Kinabalu central business district mooted by DBKK in 2015.
Stakeholders: Sabah Govt, DBKK, Sunsea Dev Sdn. Bhd., Petrofiq Sdn. Bhd.

Skybridge retails marked in orange. But is this skybridge truly vital in order to connect these places? Will people use it? How was our existing infra prior to the skybridge?

Currently, among these 5 commercial points, only CP is highly occupied.
3.Local pedestrian culture – first, let’s try to understand this in relation to elevated bridge, focusing on 3 aspects:

-Our people tend to utilize the spaces under the bridge for stalls/night hawkers. Ie. Segama bridge. I actually love this, creating more vibrancy in the
area. But is this skybridge strategic for such activities?
-Vandalism & Littering, may happen over the time. ie. in Saloma Link Bridge.
-Well, let’s be real… we humans don’t really like climbing the stairs & use the bridge. We prefer shortcuts,
A research stated “..footbridge height and the frequency of using it were associated with a decrease in the likelihood of utilising this structure. Being in a hurry was highly associated with crossing at the street level…” We’ll explore more on this.…
Ok. I can’t seem to send the rest of my tweets right now, shall continue in a bit.
4. Now, back to KK skybridge – I went to the ground & explore people’s movement after the skybridge opening. Let’s start with Jln Coastal.

Even before the skybridge opening, pedestrians have been crossing this main road most frequently at the yellow marks. Same goes today.
There are even pedestrian signages & traffic lights here – encouraging people to cross on the streets instead of the bridge.

Looking at this analysis, in my POV, (1) the current bridge location may not be the most strategic place since it’s far-off from CP main entrances
which people frequent, but good thing it’s located near the bus stop. (2) Perhaps, skybridge is not necessary afterall, if only we can implement ‘traffic calming’ strategy & more visible zebra crossings at the yellow marks so people can cross at ease instead of jaywalking.
5.Jalan 20

This is 4 lanes road with curb in the middle. Let’s start with the controversial branch of the bridge which (supposedly in the future) connects directly to the first floor of CP, but do not have any stairs connecting to ground floor. Meaning, when you are at A
& wants to walk over to the ground area of CP, you have to cross the roads (perhaps at yellow mark) instead of using the bridge. This sort of defeats the purpose of the costly bridge. I really think there should be stairs to the ground floor at the end of CP bridge –
it’ll enhance continuity. But again I think, when it’s not rainy, people would still walk from A to CP via the road, since it already has a pathway & curbs as buffer.

Now, same goes with the connection between B-WSq and the bridge branch meant to connect PA-WSq, people would
just rather cross the area marked yellow. The bridge is redundant. Especially since the area beyond the end of WSq bridge don’t have coverings to get to buildings & even to the nearby bus stop. Impractical during hot & rainy days.
6.Lorong Api-api 2

The bridge between PA-A2c are basically just to connect 2 retails areas & different points of the skybridge. Not really meant to connect PA & A2c since people will also just walk on areas marked yellow, then may also go through the small vibrant shaded
walkway between PA and Promenade Hotel to get to OC, or even below the bridge itself to get to OC areas.
7.Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens

This part of the bridge also serves little function. There are already pedestrian crossings marked yellow, especially interesting to see one below the bridge itself. I think this part would be less redundant if the bridge can be extended
to the bus terminal opposite OC (yes, the sad bus terminal). Anyway, this road is reaaally wide, the bridge could be more useful if it’s situated near OC entrance-bus terminal thou. Also, we really need traffic calming strategy & more visible curb implemented here.
8.OKU facilities

There are 2 small lifts only for OKU and only at OC & AC. Lack continuity. Basically, if you’re an OKU at OC and wants to get to WSq, you just gotta cross the street, but the pathways are terrible, urm so not safe. Also, if you’re with
your family and brought stroller along or a traveler with luggage, you still can’t use the lifts. There’s an effort to be inclusive, but not really thought through critically, making this impractical.

If you’re an OKU wanting to use the lifts, you can’t open the door right
away, you have to first reach to the phone located quite high, give a call then they’ll let you use it. People with visual impairment can’t really rely on the tactile at this area cause it stopped at odd places, instead of leading them to the lift. What a system huh?
Next, we’ll look at it’s safety, design, cost & other case studies in KK, Sarawak, KL and other countries, why skybridge is not feasible & also to explore other alternatives. But I’ll only continue if people find this beneficial, it not, I’ll stop at this.
“it’s just a bridge” But this thread is not just about the bridge, it meant to create more awareness of our surroundings; of how our infra need more improvements & in-depth study before constructing it, of our rights to have a say about how money spent on our city.
“So do we need this skybridge?”

Actually, no, we don’t.

If we really want to improve pedestrians’ experience (safer & more inclusive), then we must decrease amount of cars on the road.

Those spaces for cars should instead be spaces for people.
It could be utilized better for community activities, parks, pathways, etc. - more sustainable & healthy.

How? We need better efficient public transportation. Give people the mode of travel options, instead of just relying on cars.

That’s the root of it all.
Simple terms:

Efficient public transport -> decrease car-reliance -> lesser demands for roads & parkings -> car spaces converted to walkways & community spaces -> vibrant city -> safer for pedestrians -> no need for skybridge -> resources can be better spent on healthcare & edu
Hello. Since this has received a lot of attention/feedbacks, please consider following @KotaKitaSabah.

We advocate for city-regional planning for the people, by the people - that are grounded by data, on-ground analysis & conversations w community.

Your support is appreciated!
Also while you’re at this. In case you’re wondering what KK City is capable to be, here’s a story - hope this will give some ideas.

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