Lacking vision and trapped in an old paradigm
Our first concern is that the SRS Proposal and the Zenith BUCG plan lacks any vision for a future Penang and is still car-centric.
These proposals provide a plan for Penang until 2065 - the next 50 years! Yet they are trapped in 20th century technology and approaches to planning. They propose obsolete solutions to Penang's transport problems, while simultaneously ignoring the latest developments in mass transit planning around the world, which are addressing carbon reduction targets in the context of climate change.
Is this your vision of the Penang you want for your children and grandchildren?
Progressive cities are now taking steps to constrain rather than cater to private vehicles entering into cities, greening and removing highways, aiming to drastically reduce if not achieve zero carbon emissions and investing in new technologies for electric and automated personal transport. Yet, our priority seems to be building more roads and tunnels to cater to 20th century model of everybody owning private vehicles.
The purpose of building public transport is to reduce, not encourage, private vehicle usage. Even the new mayor of a car-centric city like Houston, Sylvester Turner, recently acknowledged that widening one of the city’s main highways to 26 lanes at a cost of RM10bn (US$2.6bn) only increased traffic and made congestion worse! He, and many others have called for a paradigm shift – away from road building towards public and sustainable transport modes with a need to discourage single-occupancy polluting vehicles. Close to home, the Deputy Director of Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA), Ong Eu Gene said:
“In 15 to 20 years, our transportation mobility will be very different. The car dominant transportation model will become irrelevant…Thus, we want to create a working network that is safe and comfortable.”
Penang, which proudly declares it wants to lead, appears to be demonstrating a total ignorance of current world concerns and trends.