Public transport advocate solicits ideas to break ‘car culture’ in Penang

Penang has over-built infrastructures that are poorly used, says Eric Britton. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

From the Archives. George Town Malaysia. Sept 23 , 2013  http://themalaymailonline.com/ —

By Opalyn Mok

A predilection for cars means that 80 per cent of transport funding is used to cater for the needs of 20 per cent of society, according to a public transport proponent today.

World Car Free Day founder Eric Britton pointed out this uneven distribution in public expenditure was an issue in many modern cities, including Penang.

“It should be the other way around where only 20 per cent funding is needed and it can fulfil the needs of 80 per cent of the society,” he said during a media focus group under the Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda two-week programme this morning.

In a bid to change that, Britton is here for the two-week Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda.

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Project: On-Board Bus Announcements of Next Stop

We discussed with several of the focus groups the possibility of following the lead of leading cities around the world in ensuring that all of the new buses are equipped with a sound system that announces the next stop clearly at least one minute in advance so that all will be able to get to the door and prepare to exit. There was substantial support for this project.

The immediate reason for doing this is to provide convenience service for the blind and others suffering from visual impairments who cannot or have difficulty in recognizing stops, particularly when they use lines with which they’re not already familiar. These announcements will not only be useful for the visually handicapped but also for quite a wide range of other traveling Penangites and visitors.

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Getting away with murder on the streets

 In memoriam 2013

Streetsblog: Doing its job year after year in New York City.

Each year our friends over at Streetsblog in New York City publish a heart-rending testimonial to the mayhem that automobiles have wrought over the year on their city’s streets and the cost in terms of lives lost by innocent pedestrians usa ghost bike photoand cyclists. Putting names, faces and human tragedy to what otherwise takes the form of dry numbers, faceless hence quickly forgettable statistics is an important task. We can only encourage responsible citizens and activists in every city on the planet to do the same thing, holding those public officials (and let’s not forget, “public servants”) responsible for what goes on under their direct control.

* * * Who is doing this job in Penang? * * *

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Carnage on the roads and streets

An example for Penang: Once a week on Friday, the civil society journal and blog Streetsblog of New York City stubbornly reports the week’s toll of human life, injuries and major property damage  directly due to the errors, miscalculations, inattention and anti-social behavior of the automobile drivers of the city. This unrelenting reminder is a public drumbeat to draw the attention of the public, the media and the city government to the flaws of their system and their behaviour. Let’s have a look at how they do it.

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Corbusier-Free Cities (A thought for Penang)

What luck for Penang and George Town that you did not ever  invite  the famed 20th century Swiss architect, designer, artist and general polymath Le Corbusier,  who when he donned his urbanist hat provided the world with several striking examples of how to build a city for cars.  That most devinitely is not where you want to go. Fortunately most of his city projects never got off the drawing board. But today, the Danish architect Henrik Valeur tells us about one that did in the city of Chandigarh,  and what perhaps Indian planners and urbanists can now do to rectify.

wpd-le corbu transit city future

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