No justification to waste millions on expensive Mount Erskine underpass

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Blowing the rates hikes on silly underpasses and alandslide-prone highway

The latest press statement by Penang Forum:

The Penang Island City Council plans to spend RM55m on an underpass connecting Mount Erskine Road to Burmah Road (crossing below Gottlieb Road).

The latest hike in assessment rates would rake in RM54m per year for the council while burdening ratepayers. But much of this additional revenue raised from the rate hikes would be blown away just to pay for land acquisition (over RM20m) and the construction of this underpass.

This is a huge waste of ratepayers’ funds as the average travelling time to cross from the junction of Jalan Fettes/Lebuhraya Halia to Mount Erskine Road/Gottlieb Road junction (a distance of 2.1km) is less than 10 minutes even during morning peak hours. During off-peak hours, the travel time is under five minutes. This is hardly a long time – and certainly no justification for wasting millions of ringgit on an underpass.

Data in Appendix 1 (below) is based on Google Traffic historical data for two random days – 28 August and 24 September 2019. The reading is at 15-minute intervals, from 6:30am to 9:30am (morning rush hour). The reading was also taken at 11.45pm (close to midnight) as a control variable. The average normal time taken was 8-10 minutes. The longest time to clear the traffic was 12 minutes, which shows up only once.

Data in Appendix 2 (below) is based on a daily commuter’s own experience in crossing the same junctions at around 7.30am from Monday to Friday (18-22 November 2019). The average time to travel the distance was seven minutes, with the longest at 10 minutes (once).

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The millions spent on the proposed short underpass would be better spent upgrading the bus service, introducing feeder buses and dedicated bus lanes, providing incentives for the greater use of school buses, and more efficient traffic management. This would also private curb vehicle emissions thatcc contribute to climate change.

Scrap the underpass. If you agree, please go sign the petition.

Penang Forum steering committee

Appendix 1

The following data was collected in silico by using Google Traffic historical data on 28 August (Wednesday) and 24 September (Tuesday) 2019 at 15-minute intervals, from 6:30am to 9:30am (morning rush hour).

The 2.1km distance was from the Fettes Road-Mount Eskine Road junction to the Bagan Jermal Road-Gottlieb Road-Burma Road junction, right after the traffic light turning in to Jalan Gottlieb. Traffic data was taken also at 11.45pm (close to midnight) as control. Both 28 August and 24 September were work and school days.

The real-time traffic map and journey timing for the two days showed that the longest time to clear the traffic was 12 minutes, which showed up only once (in the 15-minute intervals) during the morning rush-hour survey on those two days. The average normal maximum time taken was 8-10 minutes.

Appendix 2

The following data was collected everyday for a week by a daily commuter

Travelling time from the traffic lights at the Mount Erskine Road-Fettes Road-Lebuhraya Halia crossroads to get past the traffic lights at the Mount Erskine-Gottlieb Road crossroads:

Date: Monday, 18 November 2019

Time: 7.32am – 7.41am (9 minutes)

Speed: 40-60km/hr

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Note: This includes the waiting time at the traffic lights at Lebuhraya Halia (four minutes) crossroads, the traffic lights at the T- junction at Tingkat Erskine Satu, and the traffic lights at Mount Erskine Road-Gottlieb Road before crossing into Gottlieb Road.

Date: Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Time: 7.41am- 7.46am (5 minutes)

Speed: 40-60km/hr;

Note: Slightly more cars today but no waiting (because of the green light) at the Lebuhraya Halia-Mount Erksine Road crossroads and at the traffic light at the T-junction at Tingkat Erksine Satu. A bit of waiting at the traffic light at Mount Erksine-Gottlieb Road crossroads.

Date: Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Time: 7.37am-7.42am (5 minutes)

Speed: 40-60km/hr

Note: This includes the waiting time at the traffic lights at the Lebuhraya Halia-Mount Erksine Road crossroads (about one minute) while the traffic light was green allowing a straight drive through at the T- junction at Tingkat Erskine Satu. But there is a lane for cars to turn right into Hong Seng Estate (the traffic light is red, thus had to indicate to switch to the left lane to go straight. However, cars driving straight were quite fast causing a little delay in switching lanes. Waited at the traffic light at Mount Erksine-Gottlieb Road (less than a minute) before crossing into Gottlieb Road.

Date: Thursday, 21 November 2019

Time: 7.39am-7.45am (6 minutes)

Speed: 50km/hr

Note: This includes the waiting time at the traffic light at the Lebuhraya Halia-Mount Erksine Road crossroads (half a minute) and a wait at the traffic light at the Mount Erksine Road-Gottlieb Road crossroads (two minutes) before crossing to Gottlieb Road.

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Date: Friday, 22 November 2019

Time:7.45am- 7.55am (10 mintues)

Speed: 50km/hr

Note: Waited at the traffic light at the Lebuhraya Halia-Mount Erksine Road crossroads (four minutes). Waited for about 30 seconds at the T- junction at Tingkat Erskine Satu and waited at the traffic lights at Mount Erksine Road-Gottlieb Road (three minutes) before crossing into Gottlieb Road.

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Lazadoo
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Lazadoo

So many cars so must build more roads otherwise make driving expensive by imposing high road tax and high fuel price to encourage bus ridership.

SNP Blackford
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SNP Blackford

A trip down memory lane when Singapore first unveil their MRT system. Life was much simpler back then. As you can see the hopes and aspirations in the eyes of the people, pinpointing towards a more modern, clean and fuctionable city state. Brilliantly thought of, planned, and executed by the founding fathers of Singapore. And by today standards, they are proven right and even outdone themselves.

https://youtu.be/RSE8oN2De7A

Will we see similar reactions from Penangites during the LRT launching day?

Shriek
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Until now soo many moons no one commented on this issue? Nothing to say or only to parrot the kbkb? When I comment something, even the comment is relevant, I will receive thumb down. Mppp foresee increase in traffic jam in 3 or 4 years time. If they do not do it now it will be more difficult to do it in the future where the road junction becomes more congested and the waiting and burn of petrol increase. By having the underpass those cars along mt Erskine to burmah road will have free flow and need not to stop… Read more »