This is blog visitor tunglang’s vision of a liveable and commuter-friendly inner-city George Town and how it can be achieved:
- Trams plying the streets of old-world-charm George Town.
- Rapid buses serving the main artery roads (not competing with trams along heritage routes).
- Pedal-powered trishaws (at premium fees) serving the tourists, motorised trishaws (at standardised fees) serving Penangites.
- Bicycles as convenient inner city transportation. We have many streets connected by lorongs – back lanes which can also serve as networks of safe bicycle routes instead of cyclists competing for tight road space with Speedy Gonzales MyVis and Kenaris. Bicycle rental can be a public facility option as some cannot afford to buy ‘Bing Chui’ designer bicycles, which may cost more than a Honda bike. Rapid bus can do its part in encouraging dual-mode travelling by installing on-bus bicycle racks.
- All pavements and five-foot ways to ensure accessiblity for people with disabilities. More street benches for tired walkers, cyclists and pensioners.
- Evening horse or lembu carriages serving the inner city for enjoyable rides amidst a leisurely ambience.
- More shady trees lining our streets and more water fountains/mist fans at street corners cooling the hot air, absorbing the carbon monoxide. This will make inner city travelling more bearable.
- Empty walls turned into vertical gardens of tropical delight and tranquility zones. Some can even incorporate a mini waterfall. (Better than the disastrous Tanjung Bungah waterfalls during the rainy season).
- And to add value to a liveable (and safe) city with tourism potential: Encourage, support and subsidise old trades and craft shops as permanent features and attractions of old world charm in George Town.
- Side lanes (lorongs) ‘dedicated’ to heavenly street food (e.g. Lebuh Keng Kwee for TeowChew Chendol), weekend street art demos and weekend flea markets. Wouldn’t it be great to walk, cycle or go trishaw-ing around for great street cuisine, fine arts and souvenir bargain hunting?
- Day and night museums of all kinds relevant to the local historical and cultural context (e.g. Nyonya Museum @ Church Street). I would love to add a Ghee Hin+Hai San Museum.
- Part-timers serving as tourist information guides and street safety officers for a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience of old world charm in inner city George Town.
We don’t need to search far for workable ideas instead of copying Hong Kong or SingLand for heritage ‘lifeless-ness’ or introducing expensive inspirations of fleeting, unsustainable values.
What we had (in the past), recognised worldwide and still breathing now with potential for wholesome realisation, can truly serve the needs of locals (first). It just takes a little bit more creativity and self-confidence among Penangites to make a difference instead of becoming a ‘commercialised wildebeest’ of herd mentality chasing after a global cosmopolitan development concept.
Thanks, tunglang, for the above. What do you think? Are these ideas feasible?