“Moving to a higher quality Light Rail Transit or Monorail system is unlikely to be justified,” say traffic consultants hired by the state government to formulate a Penang traffic master plan.
They have instead proposed a bus rapid transit and a tram-based system under a ‘balanced approach vision’ .
Make sure you check out their final draft Penang traffic master plan and submit your own views. See the programme below for public display dates and times.
The consultants actually came up with two alternative approaches for the master plan: the Highway Improvement-Based Approach and the Balanced Approach Vision.
The Highway Improvement-Based Approach consists of a Core Package along with:
- the Third Crossing,
- Cross City Link from Jelutong to Air Itam bypass,
- North Coast Pair Road,
- Air Itam to Relau Pair Road and
- the North-South Expressway Link
Costs estimated at RM12.5bn.
We can toss out this approach as it is, quite simply, unsustainable – a recipe for congestion. This approach was probably included as the state government seemed keen on going down this road, so to speak.
So let’s look at the Balanced Approach Vision, which consists of the Core Package along with
- the Penang Outer Ring Bypass,
- the North-South Expressway Link on the mainland (to overcome congestion on the untolled section),
- BRT, trams, ferries, commuter rail and
- George Town/Butterworth access charges
Under the balanced approach, new roads would only be “introduced to facilitate the reallocation of road space from private vehicles to public transport – They will not be promoted as a means of increasing highway capacity.”
This approach also recommends road user charges targeted at private vehicles entering George Town and Butterworth. Money collected from these charges could be used to fund more public transport initiatives. Might I add, if there is a change of government at federal level, the toll from the Penang Bridge should also be used to fund public transport in the state.
But watch out for the proposed Penang Outer Ring Bypass. The consultants themselves warn: “The Outer Bypass has detrimental impacts in the outer areas of George Town, affecting the edge of the Penang Hills and the setting of the Botanical Gardens.” So I wonder why this was recommended as an option at all.
Reading between the lines, I sense the consultants have rejected the tunnel as a feasible option anytime in the near future. And they warn that major highways are likely to be environmentally controversial.
According to the consultants, the best public transport option under the ‘balanced approach’ would be for a Bus Rapid Transit or a tram-based system. They point out the need for somenthing different – because the “retention of buses on all routes, even in prioritised bus lanes, does not afford public transport the required image to make it a mass people mover”.
“Moving to a higher quality Light Rail Transit or Monorail system is unlikely to be justified.
“Nonetheless, in implementing a Bus Rapid Transit/Tram system, there would be merit in migrating from the current situation, through bus prioritisation to the ultimate solution.”
See the Penang Transport Council website for more details.
We must say NO to unsustainable transport options that are based on private motor vehicles. Say no to major new roads that will only encourage more private motor vehicles.
Instead, ask for more sustainable transport and public transport options (including buses, cycling, improved pedestrian networks).
3rd Floor Foyer Area Mon-Friday 16 to 20 April, 2012 9.00AM to 5.00PM
Komtar, Pulau Pinang Mon-Friday 23 to 27 April, 2012 9.00AM to 5.00PM
Sunshine Farlim Mall Saturday 21 April 2012 10.00AM to 5.00PM
Gurney Mall Saturday 28 April 2012 10.00AM to 5.00PM
Ground Floor Foyer Area
MPSP Offices Mon-Friday 16 to 20 April,2012 9.00AM to 5.00PM
Mon-Friday 23 to 27 April, 2012 9.00AM to 5.00PM
Sunway Carnival Mall Saturday 21 April 2012 10.00AM to 5.00PM
Jusco Perda Mall Saturday 28 April 2012 10.00AM to 5.00PM
Thursday 3rd May 2012 Registration 9.15AM Workshop 10.00AM to 1.00PM
Saturday 5th May 2012 Registration 10.15AM Workshop 11.00AM to 2.00PM
Venue for both Workshops: Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang, Georgetown, Penang