Malaysian scholar on Transport and Land Use comments on The Battle of Penang

SRS projects vs. Penang Forum call for new Transport Master Plan

better cheaper faster penang transport master plan 2Translated from Chinese interview of Dr. Ahmad Hilmy, transport and city planning scholar from the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), which appeared in the China Press of August 13, 2016. Dr. Hilmi closes the interview by stating frankly his recommendation that “the government engage independent experts to study both the proposals by SRS and the NGOs, based on best scientific estimates of construction cost, acquisition cost, maintenance and operation cost, life cycle, opportunity costs and externalities, ridership, environmental and life quality impacts, cultural and heritage issues, impacts on vulnerable populations, etc., instead of keep on arguing.”

For full background on the fast-growing struggle to create a sustainable transport system for Penang. we direct you to The NGO Challenge Dialogue at http://wp.me/p3GVVk-xJ. The picture is rather murky at first due to considerable obfuscation on the part of the current administration, but if you are interested please take the time to work your way down through that top right menu section also entitled NGO Challenge Dialogue. You make up your mind, and if you have any comments, corrections or suggestions these pages are entirely open.

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Open letter to Penang State Executive Councillor C.K. Yeow: On the role of M2Ws in PTMP

Penang motorcyles heavy traffic

Subject: PTMP position, plan and recommendations for motorcycles

Penang chow and EB

YB Chow Kon Yeow                Professor Eric Britton

Dear Mr. Chow,

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Free Public Transport? Hmm, are you quite sure?

free public transport standing bus

Anything missing?

There are a good number of proponents around the world — politicians and activists for the most part —  supporting the idea that public transport should be free. It certainly is a tempting idea. And if we here at World Streets have  our own thoughts on the subject (stay tuned),  it is always good practice to check out both sides of the issues. to get the ball rolling, just below you will find four short statements  taken from the Wikipedia entry, setting out arguments against FPT. More to follow on this but in the meantime we are interested in hearing from our readers and colleagues around the world both with (a) their comments on these criticisms and (b) yet other critical views. (This is sure to be a bit exciting.)

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Op-Ed. Response to Mr. Chow’s accusations of Penang Forum incompetence

Penang Forum’s ‘better, cheaper, faster’ transport plan not practical, says state

penang chow and britton eb

YB councillor Chow Kon Yeow _______Professor Eric Britton

A Moment of Truth

Lessons from “Better, Cheaper, Faster” and Civil Society in Penang

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Op-Ed: What/who keeps holding back New Mobility reform in your city in 2016?

Penang Forum meeting

If you get it, New Mobility policy reform is a no-brainer. However, while the New Mobility Agenda is a great starting place, it is not going to get the job somehow miraculously done just because it is the only game in town when it comes to sustainable transport. There is plenty of competition for your thin wallet,  all that space on the street, and  especially for that space between our ears. We have a few potential sticking points here that need to be overcome first.

Let’s have a quick look. After some years of talking with cities, and working and observing in many different circumstances, here is my personal shortlist of the barriers most frequently encountered in trying to get innovative transportation reform programs off the ground, including even in cities that really do badly need a major mobility overhaul.

And you may read this as a negative criticism of the various groups and interest mentioned here, but please that is not at all my intent.  Human beings and most organizations are notoriously change resistant, that is a key element of their survival strategy.  In this short essay is my intention simply to remind the reader of the most important tension points, so that we can have this in mind as we move ahead with the difficult task of finding allies for a new, better and fairer transportation system

– Eric Britton, Editor, World Streets

Getting from A to B in Penang: Technology choice

Penang SRS consortium reps looking at map tunnel

 

 

Penang, 4 August 2016: The state-appointed SRS consulting team who have presented their revised Transport Master Plan and project proposals have inserted specific high cost modal and technology choices without sharing the technical analysis behind these choices, with a heavy no-choice no-explanation preference for no less than three exotic monorails, elevated LRT, major road building and road works, and, depending on the day, bridges and/or tunnels.

Have they actually done their homework? No one knows since the technical studies are being kept confidential, despite promises by the state government to make them public.

Yet there are lots of two dozen competing ways of getting from A to B. Here’s an incomplete shortlist of different candidates, just to get us going:

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Government, Civil Society and The Commons

Penang land model government SRS

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Democracy in the 21st century.

To what extent can a “temporarily elected government” dispose at their will of large swaths of the natural, historical, environmental, cultural, social, economic, etc. , patrimony — “The Commons”,as it is well known —  in order to put some pennies (or billions) into the government coffers, or those of their contractual partners, to do with what they want during their short time in office.

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