Planning and Policy Objectives for a Real Strategic Transport Plan for Penang

shell-lgame-as-depicted-by-bosch

Again and again and again, when it comes to “transport master planning” in Penang, it seems as if we always end up circling to the same old structurally wrong thing. And in the process allowing the undertrained proponents of the Big Bang “solution” of the present government package, to occupy the center of the debate. This is a huge mistake.

It is my position that the starting place for responsible and effective transport planning and policy in Penang is NOT to link it to land deals —  but to look at the challenge in and of itself. From a well defined, explicit strategic perspective.

Some will say that they do not have enough money to accomplish their objectives — which quickly become wild, pharaonic, costly and not related to the real problems and priorities at hand. Remember, transport for people and not for cars (infrastructure included)

Here is the simple question that the policy makers need to ask and resolve.

(a) What is it that they can accomplish for the people of Penang,

(b) working with available resources in order to

(c) alleviate the day-to-day mobility problems of the people of Penang – with

(d) especial attention to the needs of the poorer half of society and the vulnerable populations (elderly, handicapped, poor, isolated, non-car owners, and

(e) above all women of all ages and stations of life, and in

(f) in the coming four years, i.e., 2017-2020.

How hard is that? And why is no one minding this store?

Please someone, tell me why this is not being done?

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About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is a public entrepreneur specializing in the field of sustainability and social justice. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest work focuses on the subject of equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions and in the process find practical solutions to urgent climate, mobility, life quality and job creation issues. More at: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7

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Book review: Urban Transport Crisis in Emerging Economies

pojani-stead-urban-transport-crisis-small-coverWe are about to introduce this book to our 4,434 readers living and working in no less than 149 countries, most of whom in “emerging economies” — but let’s make this first part of this review very simple.  If you are at all interested in the on-going tectonic shift from what we used to call “transport” or “transportation” to the far more elusive and difficult “sustainable transport” or “mobility”, especially in the context of cities, this is a book which you really have to spend some time with to read and savour. It is timely, deep, critical, fair and wise. And not only for those working in the emerging economies

(Notice: For many of our readers, students, young professionals, NGO’s or tightly funded small city administrations, the hefty price may be a problem,. But let’s first take a good look at the book and then we can talk about a possible work-around for that price.)

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Archives: The struggle for local democracy in Malaysia

This is one of those special times for Malaysia when change and ideas are most  welcome. So there is hope and opportunity.  And it is one of those special times when change, even paradigm shifts are possible, and local governments given a new and more central place in the lives of our citizens. If we can together constructively, creatively and systematically build and add to the many promising initiatives , and if civic engagement leads an upsurge of citizen interest, we will surely see the emergence of an efficient, effective, equitable, democratic local government system in Malaysia that is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable.  And make a marked improvement in the quality of life of all Malaysians.
* Anwar Fazal, Penang. In Malaysiakini, 12 April 2001

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Heads-up Penang: Have you thought about getting an Undriving license?

undriving-license-site

There is a program in Seattle, USA that wants to teach you to become an “Undriver”. — Go to http://undriving.org/ for details.

And what about this?  Should Penang also start its own Undriver project. A grassroots movement to show what individual citizens who care can do for themselves and for others for a better, safer and fairer Penang.

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Op-Ed: Do Not Feed The Hungry Road Monster

This is not the most subtile treatment of the “More Roads/More traffic” problem I have ever seen, but let’s take a look about how the Penang Forum in its civil society pleading for a real vision and strategy behind transport policy and investment in Penang puts their case.

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