SRS Consortium and State government meeting in Komtar to finalise PTMP.
– P Gunasegaram, Malaysians Kini, 1 Nov. 2019
The RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), expected to span 30 years, is a major risk, whichever way one looks at it because there are way too many imponderables and assumptions made – which may impact the viability of the project further down the road.
The entire project hinges heavily on the reclamation of three islands. The Penang state government says that the land reclaimed – islands A, B, and C – will have a sale value of RM70 billion for 1,800 hectares (about 4,448 acres). However, cost breakdowns and timelines are not available.
The other thing is the high cost of the projects, with activist groups claiming that many of the highways and other links involved in the project may not be needed. If these are scrapped, the cost could be much lower.
Since TDM (Transportation Demand Management) is a key pillar of the New Mobility Agenda strategy, and of our now forming-up Five Percent Challenge Climate Emergency program, it is important that the basic distinctions are clear for all. In one of our recent master classes, when several students asked me to clarify for them, I turned the tables instead and asked them, since we are now firmly in the 21st century, to go home, spend a bit of time online and come up with something that answered their question to their satisfaction. Here is what they came up with, taken whole hog from http://bit.ly/2rTxHrr (which we then lightly edited together and offer for your reading pleasure).
Transport in Penang (and all around the world for that matter) relies on almost exclusively on non-renewable sources of energy. Think: 20 cars with one person in each vehicle vs. one bus with 20 passengers. The former creates traffic jams and worsens pollution to detract from the overall liveability of a city. It is often argued that supplying more roads only creates more demand for their usage. With 10,000 more vehicles added to Penang’s roads each month , we will have to commit ourselves soon to a decision to enhance sustainable transport.
Think City Bhd invited Prof Eric Britton, managing director of EcoPlan International in Paris, founder of World Car Free Days and longtime advocate of sustainable transport initiatives, to Penang with the purpose of studying the transport system, meeting stakeholders and hosting a series of events to come up with ideas and a new perspective for transportation improvements across the state. Thus, Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility was arranged as a two-week itinerary that featured 11 focus group discussions, three master classes, a lecture, a symposium and dialogues with MPPP, MPSP and the Penang Transport Council. (See Mission Statement at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/the-mission/ for details.)
“This major policy change is a result of ITDP Mexico’s advocacy over the last 10 years…. So in 2014, with the support of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (SEDUVI), the research study “Less parking, more city” (“Menos cajones, más ciudad”) was born providing enough evidence to show the need of a change of paradigm. This study evolved into a proposal to modify the Construction Code that ITDP delivered to Mexico City’s Government in 2015. …
“A change of policy of this importance is not the work of a single individual or institution. ITDP Mexico supported the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, and the Ministry of Mobility in the process of technical discussion with the different important guilds that are essential in the on-the-ground implications of this, such as the Real Estate Association (ADI). At the same time, agreements were made with the National Association of Supermarkets, Convenience and Departments Stores and also with the National Chamber of the Industry of Development and Promotion of Housing with the best of intentions to reach win-win agreements. The Legislative Assembly also recognized the need to reform the policy, and the role of civil society was incredibly important. Bicitekas, WRI, editorial house Arquine and, of course, IMCO, were all key to creating this more powerful, cross-cutting and lasting public policy.”
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: