Last July 2013, I post a link from a local newspaper report on a new bicycle lane that the city of Shah Alam is embarking on. click here for the post.
The project is partly social engineering and partly urban renewal i.e. to get people in Shah Alam and the neighbouring areas to take up a more healthy lifestyle through walking, cycling, running in a controlled and safe environment via dedicated paths or loops.
It is also an urban renewal initiative in the way the new bike path is creating new accessibility to existing facilities and local attractions that have been slowly forgotten or even ignored. When moving through life at a slower pace, either walking or cycling, one can definitely see more, experience more, stop and smell the roses (or orchids in Shah Alam’s case). In my case, I have been a resident of Shah Alam since 1985 and is very familiar with all the roads that a car can go through within the city however, when I cycled in the city yesterday, I was discovering new nooks and crannies that I did not even know existed or perhaps overlooked when passing through in a car. These new discoveries are making me excited and interested to get to know my city again, this time at a much slower pace.
The starting point of the project is a 2 km lane within the residential area of Section 4 opposite from the parking area of Taman Tasik Shah Alam. The lane connects playgrounds and residential lanes to provide a safe route for children in the area to cycle.
The Shah Alam bike lane when fully completed will be about 10 km long consisting of 2 major loops; the main city center loop and the outer residential loop. Based on my ride yesterday, the city center loop is already rideable. The route takes you to Taman Tasik Shah Alam, access to shopping areas like SACC, Kompleks PKNS Section 2, the MBSA building, the Museum, and ending at the Blue Masjid.
This loop is a small one and navigating it is relatively easy. The bike lanes are clearly marked and lined with marking posts along the boundary (I wonder if the posts are the reflective type at night?). Intersections are clearly differentiated with blue paint so one should be aware of possible traffic coming from the left and right sides. There are many sign posts marking the lane as bicycle / walking lanes.
Proper parking areas for bicycles with bike racks should one wants to park and roam on foot are still not many. I saw one being constructed next to the Taman Tasik area.
From in front of the Blue Masjid you can cross the road using the blue coloured crossing to get to the second loop, in front of the Makam Di Raja Selangor. The second bigger loop goes around from there to Section 9, 8, 6 and 5 using the Bangunan SUK as its central point. Cyclists looking to speed up a bit will enjoy this longer route.
For those who loves exploring the unbeaten paths, can take a slight detour into the Taman Hutan Lipur Bukit SUK. I also found this out curiosity of where the odd looking path will lead to. However, let me warn you that once you enter it will be like in a jungle, the whole place is deserted and you are basically alone. It is advisable to at least bring a friend along in your ride if you decide to venture here.
The terrain inside the area is full of climbs and descents. Mountain bikes enthusiasts will love this place.
Once you cycle to the very top of the hill you will reach the Bangunan SUK car park.
You can cross the road and go behind the Tugu for an exhilarating downhill ride into the next park called Taman Lembah Bukit SUK. This is also an interesting place, with a small lake and lots climbs and descents.
You can exit the park and join the bike lane again at Section 5.
Some parts of the loop are still under construction perhaps about 200 meters left to completion. One of the things I appreciate about this loop is that the design is thoughtful i.e. there is proper shelter should it rains and all along the path different species of trees are named so that you could learn a little bit of the native trees in our country.
Overall I give a thumbs up the effort of MBSA and the Shah Alam Mayor for the taking the initiative to build this bike lane for Shah Alam. It is a good start and I hope this social experiment will catch on to other cities in the country.