Terrible traffic conditions, says visitor

Terrible traffic conditions, says visitor

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A visitor to this blog, Tourist from Munich , had some scathing comments about the traffic situation here.

Here’s an example:


I think the traffic here is a disaster. Thinking driving a car is a sign of success, that it brings safety. On the contrary your road environment is ugly, stinking, smelly and polluted. Crime can increase as others just drive by. Nobody likes to walk around in this mess.

Take care, clean up. And yes, create space for walking and cycling. Build trams if possible. Recapture the public space. This makes going around and shopping everywhere enjoyable. It improves the quality of air and your life.

Speaking of which, when is RapidPenang going to be decentralised from Putrajaya to Penang? Why is the take-up for bus season tickets so low?

As for pedestrians, many of our pavements are so poorly built they don’t meet standards of universal design.

The other day, I noticed a man pushing someone on a wheelchair along the road leading up to the Penang Hill Railway. He had to push the wheelchair on the road itself, as the poorly designed narrow pavements with obstructions and drops made it impossible for a wheelchair user to use them. He couldn’t push the wheelchair on the roadside next to the curb either as cars were parked there. So he had to push the wheelchair well into the road.

This reflects a lack of official and social empathy and compassion for those who rely on improved accessiblity to move around on our streets. I am sure similar scenes are played out in other towns across the country. If we don’t see wheelchair users on our streets or pavements, it simply means they do not dare to venture outdoors. They remain as ‘prisoners’ indoors. And we call ourself a caring society?

One suggestion: before any new or renovated pavement can be approved as fit for public use, there should be a wheelchair test: the municipal/town council official responsible for approving it should take an unassisted ride on a wheelchair along the entire length of the pavement before the contractor can receive final payment. That should do the trick. Of course that assumes there was a proper design and that the contractor is capable of building universally accessible pavements.

Oh, I must share with you another anecdote. The other day I was in the USM area and an American tourist, probably in his fifties or sixties, approached me to ask for directions to Queensbay.

I told him it was probably too far to walk (a 30-minute walk perhaps?) and he might be better off taking a bus.

He looked at me quizzically and laughed, “You Malaysians are so afraid of walking and need cars to get around everywhere. I will walk there; just tell me how to get there.” He was clearly dressed for walking: cap, white T-shirt, light backpack and comfortable walking shoes. We had a little political discussion as well and he seemed embarrassed about the US’ foreign military adventures, which he said they had no business getting into.

After a little chit-chat, I pointed him the way to Queensbay, and off he went, leaving me wondering why more of us don’t just walk to nearby destinations, less than 20-30 minutes walk away. Could it be something to do with the lack of properly designed pavements and shady trees as well as concerns about road safety along major thoroughfares? Or are we so used to hopping into the comfort of a car or other forms of motorised transport even to destinations that are within walking distance? Or maybe it is a combination of both – the push and pull factors, so to speak.

Time to walk more, don’t you think? It’s good exercise too! (Gandhi was convinced long walks could keep away illnesses.) Shall we make this our New Year’s resolution? And while we are at it, we should also call for improved pedestrian pavements and tree-lined streets.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Restore the heat Island and polluted to green and walkway? Are you nuts? 99 out of Penang driver here will throw a tantrum for having less tar pavement road.

     
  2. Anything wrong in Penang, bash LGE first, typical of brain malfunctions. If majority of Penangster want robust economic growth, this is what you will get.

     
    • What type of growth? Unsustainable, indecent or self-serving interests.
      The rich getting richer via property speculation, driving out affordable housing & environment degradation, are these what the majority of Penangites with low salaries ask for?
      What qualifies your majority claim (from the armchair?).
      Go chlorox your exhilarated brain.

      When something goes wrong, can’t even question the overtly venerable CM. Including the MercS300L ego buy with multiple excuses when most leaders are calling for austerity measures & culling of demons of covetousness or should I put it Bin Chui Tua Khang.
      When Pg achieve some measure of excellence, the credit go straight to one deity.
      What is this exclusivity or untouchable?
      Remember who cast the votes every 4 yrs. All class of society, not only the rich & wannabe-rich.

       
      • tunglang
        MP Chow very modest and don’t show off. Give some credits to him.
        Agree with you that rakyat vote not developers.
        btw, no hard feeling. Koi o kau kau increase 10% or not ? Thought of going to “Tall Guy” Char Hor Fun off McCalister Road (Opposite SinMin Paper office). Also suggest to CEO Tan Keng Kwee to lower sugar content of chendol.
        cheers !

         
      • I have no repulsion for YB Chow Kon Yeow, a hardworking, responsible & humble politician who can ‘ta chheng chi’ (take the blame or cursing) for someone who pretends or shifts responsibility.
        His ‘cool’ demeanour is like Mr Koh Tsu Koon but underneath is a true gentleman with principles as strong as Shaolin disciples. And he doesn’t act like a cat.

         
  3. even if we have nice beautiful sidewalks…most Malaysian would probably not use it….just look at those people who haphazardly park anywhere they want ie: in front of the bank, double parking etc…just to make it convinent for them to conduct their errands with the favorite excuse “sekejap je” ….not to mention those motorcyclist who would park anywhere they want…

    they’re just plain lazy to walk even a short distance….i mean go to shopping malls and everybody would want to park the closest to the entrance regardless whether there are proper parking space or not…

    it’s mainly mentality of the public themselves…..i personally do walk everywhere…and i’ve walk in cities around the world with much worse facilities than what we have in our country…but people there would walk because they have to and also because they want to….

     
    • the best cure for obese Malaysians is to walk more.
      too hot ? then plant more shady trees along pedestrian walks. simple as that.
      dont need to spend money going to lifestyle gyms unless you want to socialise there.

       
  4. Such topic has been discussed many times in this blog but the same root causes are never addressed.

    People now shun public transport (association with pendatang asing) and every household aspires to own a car (‘style mesti ada’ mentality).

    I think about time to talk about food… and the impact of price hike on your appetite….

     
    • There are still grand daddies talking about dirty hawker stalls as if 2014 is still in the 1990s!
      These types should look at whether MPPP is doing anything effective regarding 5 footway obstructions & some dirty stalls. In the 60s, we didn’t see such inaction.
      Grand daddies should go give hawkers support and not just complain shiok-shiok on rocking chairs.
      Btw, no Penang Ori-maestros, no food tourism to shout out loud by LGE.

       
      • no offence here.
        i rather pay more RM3.80 for a bowl of MrTan cendol at Prangin Mall rather than that RM2.00 abowl at Keng Kwee road; purely from hygience point of view.
        communicable disease can cause havoc. urine from rats at lorong-lorong scare the hell of me.

         
      • Mr Tan of Keng Kwee Chendol (endorsed by tunglang) may have to move his business indoor if the chendol cart and crowd obstructing smooth flow of traffic ?
        In fact Mr Tan (ori-maestro per tunglang_ has set up a stall in air-con Prangin Mall – in anticipation of MPPP action to bar vendors setting up stalls/carts along busy road(?)
        Check out this recent video taken by friend.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6sxHp5K-Ow

         
    • Time to buka kedai makan at Straits Quay. Penang got profitable smart granddies who can and willing to pay good prices for Cosmopolitan Chendol. Rm7.00 (without GST yet).

       
  5. The euphoria of the election is over and LGE has been given the second term. From the onset of the second term we can clearly see his Incompetency, Unaccountability & Non Transparency.

    After 308, from a dirty Penang we did see a cleaner Penang. As a housekeeper and sweeper LGE certainly did a good job. But what has he really done.

    To sum up :

    We need…..leader with vision – What vision has he for Penang.
    We need leader with good track record – His record the past 5 years speak for itself – dismal
    We need inclusiveness & selfless leaders – No need to comment- He & DAP are just too arrogant.

    Surely he has none of those traits compared to Gerakan Lim Chong Eu & Koh Tsu Koon.

    Awang Selamat Ori : Whether it is LGE fault or not, the comments from an outstation visitor speak for itself. Do I need to say more. Corruption is another issue if and when Anil put it up for debate. Unaccountability & Non Transparency is also corruption even if no money is involved into their pocket but when it is involved to further their excesses to stay in power.

     
      • sunnyooi talking of credibility. As from the Oxford dictionary. able to be believed : reasonable to trust or believe : good enough to be effective. Now compared it with Gerakan Lim Chong Eu, KTK & DAP LGE

         
      • sunnyooi: We hear “Tsu Koon” immediately we check below to make sure the jewels are still there.
        I would rather be more polite to say frankly speaking: We hear “Tsu Koon” immediately we were assured Penang Hill remain pristine without any traces of Darth Vader footprints.
        GK or Rich Daddy (no need to be smart grand daddy), do you agree?

         
      • @tunglang,

        KTK was realistic about Gerakan and Gerakan position in BN. The soft guy was never the ideal man for Gerakan. And yes, KTK was more reasonable because he is a local Penangite !!! Though weak but he cares for his birth place, Penang. The same cannot be said for Mercedes Lim. He has no feeling about Penang. Money money money money and Mercedes only !!!

         
      • If one is egoistic & arrogant, he cannot reason enough to be caring, wherever he rules.
        God forbids, Putrajaya is far & inaccessible to be realised from his nightly dreams.

         
  6. Malaysian Standard MS 1184 and MS 1331 clearly spell out the code of practice for such facilities but it is seldom adhered to. MS 1184 is a requirement in the Uniform Building By-Law 34-A. The local councils all over Malaysia are simply not interested in properly implementing and enforcing this by-law, even in new developments. Penang gazetted it in 1993. 20 years on we are still stuck in the same inaccessible situation.

     
  7. It is definitely the lack of pavements or to poorly built pavements. There is practically no room to walk on Penang’s roads. Ipoh on the other hand has done a fantastic job in creating pedestrian walkways on all major roads (Anil, can I send photos to be uploaded for everyone to see?) I have been to so many cities in the world and in most if not all developed countries, people walk much more than we do. In Singapore, even the road in front of your house has sidewalks put in. I am not asking us to go to that degree and I certainly understand if the state cannot implement public transport due to constraints in law or the lack of cooperation from the federal govt. What I cannot understand is why we are not making our streets more pedestrian friendly, especially in George Town and in high density housing areas (air itam, jelutong). Sidewalks do not cost much, definitely not in the billions and can be implemented very quickly (in a matter of months). They improve the quality of life of the ordinary folk tremendously.

     
      • Kevin agree with you 100%.
        In the 90s when there was a survey done at Penang airport by Tourism Malaysia, I remembered a Caucasian couple suggested that the pedestrian walks (pavements) in Penang were (and are still !) not road friendly to pedestrians eg uneven, broken and that “kaki lima” were parked with motorcycles and hawkers stuff (sorry tunglang, the ori-maestros of street food need to jaga kebersihan & also not to obstruct ease of walking by the roadsides).
        Some improvements happening BUT the efforts need to be maximised without any favours to business but to public convenience !
        I hope MP Chow (next Penang Ketua Menteri) reads this and offer quick solutions (no need to ask LGE & developers to work on this).

         
  8. Awang Selamat Ori, why not ask where is the traffic police? Isn’t their duty to direct traffic during the jam? No, I think they will only be there when UMNO delegates or VVIPs come around. Stupid isn’t it have traffic police yet not doing their duty duting peak hours.

     
      • Mr Anil

        Here is an interesting article about the disabled in Ecuador:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-23692217

        Additional comment:
        Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa and his policies are very interesting and worth learnig from. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
        and has done great things for his country. A progressive economist.
        (Sad to say, although Venezuela’s social policies are good, the management of the economy
        by the ruling regime of Hugo Chavez and his successor is problematic).

         
      • Yes, Kai Lit, interesting idea to set aside 4 per cent of jobs for the disabled.

         
  9. It must be Lim Guan Eng’s fault! You ask Yang.

    Lim Guan Eng, these days always cakap tak serupa bikin! … Criticize gomen now purchase Mercedes! But, the cost of the Mercedes is chicken feed compared to the massive corruptions taking place (in the country).

    Ok, give you the Mercedes as all your developer friends drive one. But, do not be corrupt, ok?

     
    • ASO: Ok, give you the Mercedes as all your developer friends drive one.

      What OK? Neither is it an incentive to hold one’s breathe till the face turns blue to denounce corruption opportunities. Every cent saved is the responsibility of a leader who every month boasted the healthy state coffer in the blue for prudent financial management. Money saved in such demeanour should also reflect the altruistic purchasing behaviour, not as an excuse for a worthwhile purchase @ great price, neither for rubbing car shoulders, Merc to Merc.

      Pls remember this, voted politicians are not in the business of Business Bin Chui. Learn from Malcolm X or our local Tok Guru Nik Aziz.

      Cakap tak serupa bikini means A Hypocrite.

       
  10. And to add a MercS300L to the already highly, hellish congested roads really means self-interest more than public convenience. If one had tried to drive with godly patience on the jammed roads on Tuesday, one will be more prepared to stay at home for this Chinese New Year.
    Well, we have one way streets with 5 lanes (like Kelawei Road) supposed to ease the volume of traffic but it isn’t working at bottlenecks. I would rather ride a bullock cart to save on wasting petrol in a hellish queue. At least my bullocks can (dump) on the road to vent my frustrations.
    Where is the traffic planning?

     
      • There is already a Penang voluntary patrol unit (PPS) ready at short notice for deity protection (but not spiritual protection). So what’s the rationale for an expensive-out-of-state-coffer-indulgence of MercS300L as a street protection measure? So much for an accountant’s professionalism & ethics of the self-indulging hypocrite (not referring to doctor’s ethics).

         
  11. I was in Penang on 30 Dec to 1 Jan. The traffic condition in town was astrocious to say the least. I was caught in a grid-lock for most of Monday and Tuesday.

    Matter was certainly made worst by haphazard parking especially along road shoulders. There was
    hardly any enforcement which i find rather strange. in fact, i can’t remember ever seeing a policeman…

    Surely these conditions will deter me from driving into penang again, whatever the attractions. Sad.

     

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