First, grand designs for a tunnel, and now plans for a monorail for the Butterworth-Bagan Ajam-Kepala Batas and the Butterworth-Sungai Dua-Tasek Gelugor routes.
The proposed monorail routes are found in the draft Local Plan for North Seberang Perai now on display.
You would think that they would know better, after all the problems with the KL monorail – and of course the Malacca monorail, which can’t run properly. And do you know that Sydney is seriously considering removing its monorail system? (See this Sydney Morning Herald report.)
By the way, whatever happened to the big plan by a company (or was it two companies) to set up a 1km monorail test track in Batu Kawan, eh? Tak jadi?
How do the Butterworth monorail routes fit into the Penang Transport Masterplan? (The draft Masterplan has already been submitted to the Penang state exco.)
We should be looking at surface or light rail systems and improving our bus systems (including implementing Bus Rapid Transit) and reducing or subsidising the price of bus season tickets. And of course providing cycling lanes.
This report in The Star:
Solution to bottlenecks
By DERRICK VINESH
Photos by MUSTAFA AHMAD
APART from an undersea tunnel linking Bagan Ajam in Butterworth and Gurney Drive, a monorail project has been proposed in north Seberang Prai to help reduce traffic congestion in the area.
According to the North Seberang Prai Local Plan 2020 draft, two main monorail routes have been proposed — the Butterworth-Bagan Ajam-Kepala Batas route and the Butterworth-Sungai Dua-Tasek Gelugor route.
Mass transit project: The draft displayed at the MPSP headquarters in Bandar Perda.
According to the plan, monorail stations will be located at the Penang Sentral integrated transportation hub, the North Butter- worth Container Terminal (NBCT), Bagan Ajam, Teluk Air Tawar, Kepala Batas, Pajak Song, Sungai Dua, Bagan Lalang, Chain Ferry, Bagan Jermal, Bertam, Tasek Gelugor, Pokok Sena, Taman Seri Indah and Permatang Buloh Town.
Country Planning Department northern zone technical assistant Mohammad Nizam Taib said the North Seberang Prai and Central Seberang Prai Local Plans 2020 draft will be on display for the public from now till April 12.
He said the documents were available at the MPSP headquarters in Bandar Perda in Bukit Mertajam, the North Seberang Prai and the Central Seberang Prai district offices and at the Town and Country Planning Department office on Level 57, Komtar, George Town.
He said the drafts for each district came in two editions and contained proposed development projects with maps as well as related development guidelines.
“The exhibition is open from 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday.
“Visitors can also buy a copy of the local plan draft in CD-ROM format at RM10 each,” he said.
Public interest: Official Fuziah Saad (third right) briefing visitors (from right) M. Nithiaruben, 20, C. Muniandy, 48, and Mohd Nizam Taib about the monorail at the MPSP headquarters in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam.
MPSP president Maimunah Mohd Sharif said public opinion and suggestions would be incorporated into the draft if necessary.
“It is not a final version and we can still improvise, scale down or remove details from the proposed projects in the plan.
“We have prepared standard forms for the public to comment or to give suggestions, but they can also use other formats including video clips and voice recordings to give us their feedback,” she said.
Maimunah said although public viewing of the local plan draft would end on April 12, the public could still submit their feedback by April 19.
Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (Act 172), the public could seek an extension for the objection period to not more than a month after the deadline, she said.
“This particular local plan draft programme is rather historical because apart from the gazetting of the Penang Hill Local Plan in 1990, this is the second local plan in Penang that will be printed after being publicised,” she said.
State Town and Country Planning Department director Zainuddin Ahamad said he hoped the entire process, including the public hearing, could be completed in the next six months for both the local plans to be gazetted by December.
Initially I was planning to write something about how the federal government is only allocating RM2.9bn to Penang under the Tenth Malaysia Plan compared to RM6.5bn under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
But if Penang plans to blow money (or engage in land swap deals) on a tunnel and monorail systems, then it will not be money (or resources) well spent.
And please extend the viewing period for the Seberang Perai Local Plans to two or three months. One month is far too short. Even the Penang Botanic Garden Special Area Plan had two months. If the state and local government are really interested in public feedback, why not put it online and provide an email address for the public to respond? Public display can also mean display on the internet, right.
Moreover the draft Penang Traffic Masterplan will only be exhibited in the middle of next month for public feedback to the consultant and it will only be ready in May. Does it have a monorail for the mainland as well?
Alarmingly, the four mega highway-tunnel projects are reportedly going to be included in this Penang Transport Masterplan. Last year, I overhead a traffic masterplan consultant asking a Penang state government exco member whether these mega projects are “committed” and should be be incorporated into the masterplan. So the idea for these mega projects definitely did not come from the traffic masterplan consultants.
Is that why the consultants are giving us three options – “highway-based, public transportation, and policy intervention” — to overcome the problem? As I mentioned, I found out at one of the feedback workshops that the public response was in favour of sustainable transport options and not more cars and highways.
We should oppose ill-conceived traffic projects which will choke the life out of our precious island and Butterworth. Instead, we should move towards the more sustainable transport options found in more enlightened and progressive cities elsewhere.