Spotted this letter in theSun today about the second Penang bridge (now in the preliminary stages of construction). It mirrors my thoughts exactly.
Penang’s roads are already congested during peak hours, Friday and Saturday evenings, and festive periods – and that is with three lanes of traffic along the newly widened Penang Bridge pouring into the island. What happens when the second bridge creates two or three additional lanes of vehicles flowing into the island?
No need for second link
I AM a resident of Penang Island and a regular user of the Penang Bridge. Every day the traffic report on the radio nearly always has the same good news for users of the bridge like me: “Clear on both lanes and at the entry and exit points both on the mainland and on the island.”
The bridge used to be clogged up before and during its expansion and made worse by the closure of one lane on each side of the midspan due to cable replacement work on the suspension section of the bridge. Since all this work was completed and the bridge’s six lanes opened several months ago, its been a breeze! Congratulations to all for the great work. There has not been any major traffic congestion that I personally have experienced nor heard of since.
This begs the questions: is the Second Link really necessary? If it were my project, I’d be having second thoughts about its viability. It is longer, therefore users will be charged more than the current RM7 for the Penang Bridge. Will there be enough traffic to enable me to pay back the loan for building the bridge?
In my honest opinion, I would say we don’t need the Second Link. What the island does need is a good, solid integrated public transport system. This should be provided by buses, light rail, trams and taxis. Visitors to the island should be discouraged from driving there.
Instead they should be given incentives and encouraged to park their cars in Butterworth and use public transport to get to and travel around the island. Perhaps there could be a new business of providing rental of electric or alternative energy vehicles, motorbikes or bicycles if visitors do need personal transportation. With less traffic on the island, I can see tourism prospering, local residents enjoying a better quality of life and visitors having a more relaxed time in sunny Penang.
This is the Penang I would like to see. We don’t need more roads and bridges to add to the congestion, or more valuable land going towards accommodating more roads. Where will it end?
My vision for Penang is an end to the constant city traffic crawl, for it to be more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, and a good integrated public transport system. That is the Penang I would like to live in and I think visitors would like to visit. It can then be called the Pearl of the Orient again. But it may be too late, the second link is already being built.
Wouldn’t a shuttle bus service along the bridge, along with significant improvements in the ferry service, reduce traffic even further? What do you think?