The calm and tranquility of two popular parks in Penang will be destroyed if plans proceed for an elevated six-lane Pan Island Link Highway that will slice through these green lungs.
The Sungai Ara Linear Park:
and the Youth Park:
Perhaps we can learn from the Edinburgh experience. In 1963, a plan was mooted for a six-lane ring road highway that included a flyover over the popular Meadows park in Edinburgh. But this plan was finally defeated.
Here is what one blog GCat’s World of Stuff had to say of the 1960s plan for the Edinburgh ring road highway:
The road plans fascinated and horrified me, a bit like a horror film that you somehow can’t bring yourself to stop watching. The audacity of them seems incredible now, although it was probably par for the course back in the 60s. Basically, as far as I can piece together from what I’ve read, the plan was to have an inner ring road (possibly a full three-lane motorway but definitely at least a dual carriageway) encircling the city centre, running through Haymarket, Tollcross, the Meadows, St Leonards, Waverley, Leith Street, Inverleith, Craigleith, and back round to Haymarket again. When I say “running through”, I really do mean right through. Many of these places would have been either destroyed or at least blighted forever under the plans. In a few places (such as under Donaldson’s School) the road was to be in tunnels, but these were the exception…
The Meadows. A lovely green space in the heart of the city, with imposing old tenement blocks on the south side and views of Arthur’s Seat. Always busy with pedestrians and cyclists, especially in the summer. Melville Drive, the road through the park, would have been turned into a motorway if the plans had gone ahead…
So there you go. People may somewhat justifiably bitch and moan about the disruption caused by the tram line construction, but the ring road plan was on another level entirely. It’s easy to complain about the traffic congestion as well, but it’s far from certain that the planned motorways would have helped much in the long term.
Par for the course in the 1960s? We are planning something like that in the 21st Century and living that horror film in Penang right now. That shows how backward our mindset is – half a century out of step.
Come and make your voices heard at the town hall meeting with the Department of the Environment on the environmental impact of the Pan Island Link highway on Thursday, 20 September at Spice from 8pm to 10.30pm.