TRAFFIC IN PENANG (Count the buses please)

Penang traffic count the buses KM138 North-South Highway on the mainland

Moving cars, not people.

The Penang Transport Master Plan  — http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my/index.php/en/ — advertises  their repeated intention to “move people, not cars.”.  But is that what their plan is really all about?

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Battle of Ideas: The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire

Moving cars or moving people? Through the looking glass

 

A bit of background on The People’s Republic (Wikipedia):

The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire or the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire were nicknames often given to South Yorkshire under the left-wing local governments of the 1980s, especially the municipal socialist administration of Sheffield City Council led by David Blunkett, used by both detractors and supporters of the councils.[1] The councils pursued a social policy radically different from that of Margaret Thatcher‘s national government, following more closely along the lines of Militant tendency-dominated Liverpool City Council and the Greater London Council led by Ken Livingstone.[2]

The expression was coined by Max Williams, a leader writer at the Yorkshire Evening Post, although it was soon adopted by supporters of the council’s left-wing policies.[3] Sheffield Hallam was the only seat in South Yorkshire where the Conservative Party was a significant political force, the remaining seats being Labour safe seats or Liberal–Labour marginals.[4] Sheffield City Council and the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Authority were solidly left wing, remaining socialist even as Thatcherism became the dominant political ideology in the country as a whole.

– – >Continues: http://bit.ly/2F91tSn

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“A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure,” UK Prime Minister Thatcher once said, according to legend

Summing up

In your eyes, how does all of this look today, a full generation later?

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About the editor: 

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as a development economist, Francis Eric Knight-Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent non-profit advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh, @ericbritton. @worldstreets and britton@ecoplan.org

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PENANG TRANSPORT MASTER PLAN WATCHING BRIEF (Nov. 2018 Update)

FB SP eb books report title

– Eric Britton, Paris. Update of 30 October 2018

Why a Watching Brief for Penang?

On 23 November 2013 I submitted the final report and recommendations to close out the first stage of my planned work as an invited adviser and critic of Penang’s transportation strategy, plans and procedures.  (See the Mission statement at  https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/the-mission/ ) The report was intended as a working draft for wide distribution  and vigorous critical discussion in the following months. It was entitled:

“SUSTAINABLE PENANG: TOWARD A NEW MOBILITY AGENDA”      

    Phase 1 Report, Brainstorming  and Policy Recommendations 

You can access the full advisory report here –  http://bit.ly/2IqZ0PO

HOLD IT!  Expected next stage not engaged. What happened?

When the report and its recommendations were apparently set aside and entirely ignored — as had been the fate of the  excellent, highly professional reports and recommendations of the Halcrow Transport Group — I decided not to let it ride and instead of turning my back on this highly dangerous “Master Plan” project chose to set up a public “Watching Brief on Sustainable Transport in Penang” . The objective of the brief is to follow and report to a wide international audience on the continuing see-saw battle between an obstinate under-qualified state government consortium and powerful lobby with a closed-door multi-billion dollar “Big Bang” (their words) program of massive infrastructure expansion, almost all parts of which would in good time succeed only in making what is already a bad situation (mainly nothing more fearful than a plain-vanilla peak hour congestion problem) significantly worse.

After noting the resounding silence in Penang as far as my analysis and recommendations were concerned, my option was to cash the client’s check, do nothing and forget Penang.  Or perhaps to set up something along the lines of an independent . .  .

Watching Brief on Penang’s evolving transport situation and disputes

The goal of this internet platform and associated social media sites then  is to support legitimate sustainable transport initiatives, critical thinking, open discussions, new ideas, consistent policy, fruitful alliances and fact-oriented discussion and anything else that might help advance the public’s understanding of the New Mobility Agenda in Penang.  The watching brief also keeps a careful eye open to identify, feed and encourage public discussion of what are almost surely in this case poor science, bad ideas, absurd proposals and  ad hoc initiatives which violate the basic precepts of the sustainability agenda.

A watching brief is a continuous, independent, and in this case open collaborative monitoring activity of progress and problems taking place in a specific sector or area. It takes a arms-length vision of the focus area and in this case is made broadly available to the public and all involved as a tool in support of Civil Society in Penang.

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The Penang Transport Master Plan: FROM PUBLIC TRANSPORT PLAN TO A DEVELOPERS’ PLAN

INTRODUCTION

Penang Forum initially mooted the idea for a public transport plan, now known as PTMP, to the Penang state government in 2008. Promoting an evidence-based policy making approach to transport planning, Penang Forum assisted the state government in engaging the international Halcrow consultancy and facilitated the consultant’s work. After months of data collection and public consultations, Halcrow drew up Recommended Transport Master Plan Strategy (‘Halcrow Plan’) featuring an extensive network of trams and BRT, the public transport component estimated to cost below RM10bn.

When the plan was nearly finalized, Halcrow was pressured to include Ewein’s Zenith–BUCG sea tunnel and 3 major highways on the island costing RM6.3 billion. The Halcrow Plan, with a projected total cost of RM27 billion, was officially endorsed by the Penang state government in May 2013.

Lacking technical resources, the state government decided to appoint a project delivery partner (PDP) to implement the Halcrow Plan. This was done through a Request for Proposal. The winning bid was submitted by SRS Consortium, whose proposal introduced new elements such as LRT, monorails and highways, departing from the Halcrow Plan in significant ways.

Initially pitched at RM27 billion, the SRS plan quickly ballooned to RM46 billion, a whopping 70% increase in project costs.

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PENANG TRANSPORT MASTER PLAN: State government justification, strategy and proposed projects

PTMP Banner for home page

Extract downloaded from Penang State Government site, 25 Aug. 2018 Source: http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.en

Foreword By Right Honourable Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of PenangPenang CM  Lim Guan Eng -2

The State Government takes issues on road congestion and public transport system in Penang seriously since it was voted into office in 2008. It has embarked on an initiative to conduct a comprehensive study, the Penang Transport Master Plan (TMP) regarding the current state of the transport system and traffic in May 2011.

Penang continues to face major problems – the 3Cs viz. crime, cleanliness and congestion. These problems have compounded due to the influx of investors and tourists to the state. In 2008-2014, Penang recorded an investment of RM48.2 billion compared to only RM24.9 billion in 2001 – 2007. This twofold increase in investment has subsequently contributed to the rise in the number of tourists both local or overseas that choose Penang as a preferred tourist destination.

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NGOs: Don’t rush to endorse Penang Transport Master Plan

Fifteen local NGOs have cautioned Penangites not to rush to endorse the state’s mega-billion transport master plan (PTMP), saying more consultation and transparency are needed in the massive deal.

The NGOs, including Aliran and the Penang Heritage Trust, issued a joint statement giving Penangites nine major reasons why “the people of Penang should not be rushed into signing this important agreement”.

They said this while commending and expressing support on the need to prioritise public transport over the present private car-centric transport system.

Critical issues they want the state and its appointed project delivery partner SRS Consortium to address include the tremendous costs involved – currently estimated at RM40 billion.. .

“The most worrying concern is that the PTMP lacks vision, it is touted as a plan for Penang for the next 50 years yet it is trapped in 20th century technology and approach in planning,” the NGOs said.

“It proposes obsolescent solutions to Penang’s transport problems, ignoring the latest developments in mass transit planning around the world.

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“THE MODERN AUTOMOBILE MUST DIE”

cars light night modern automobile must die - New Repulblic

“If we want to solve climate change, there’s no other option.”

By Emily Atkin, The New Republic, August 20, 2018

. . .

In 2010, a NASA study declared that automobiles were officially the largest net contributor of climate change pollution in the world. “Cars, buses, and trucks release pollutants and greenhouse gases that promote warming, while emitting few aerosols that counteract it,” the study read. “In contrast, the industrial and power sectors release many of the same gases—with a larger contribution to [warming]—but they also emit sulfates and other aerosols that cause cooling by reflecting light and altering clouds.”

In other words, the power generation sector may have emitted the most greenhouse gases in total. But it also released so many sulfates and cooling aerosols that the net impact was less than the automobile industry, according to NASA.

Since then, developed countries have cut back on those cooling aerosols for the purpose of countering regular air pollution, which has likely increased the net climate pollution of the power generation industry. But according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “collectively, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. emissions,” while “in total, the U.S. transportation sector—which includes cars, trucks, planes, trains, ships, and freight—produces nearly thirty percent of all US global warming emissions … .”

In fact, transportation is now the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States—and it has been for two years, according to an analysis from the Rhodium Group.

Continues: https://newrepublic.com/article/150689/modern-automobile-must-die

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And on Penang?

politicians and engineers are wrong

The present PTMP is based on the goal of building more and large roads to accommodate more motor vehicles, and more cars. Period.

Penang needs a real transport master plan whose fundamental strategy (TDM) will be to reduce the number of cars on the road significantly beginning in 2019.  THAT’S THE CHALLENGE.

Hello? Anyone home?

PS. See https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/tag/ptmp/ for all sides on the ongoing vigorous deebate on the right way for Penang to proceed from hee.

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Editor’s note: I would say rather that “the modern motor car is dying”.  All you have to do is look hard and the vital signs of decline, ongoing and future, are undeniably there.

About the editor:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as a development economist, Francis Eric Knight-Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent non-profit advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh, @ericbritton. @worldstreets and britton@ecoplan.org

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