We are glad to bring you the first volume of the full set of reports that constitute the winning SRS “GAME-CHANGER FOR PENANG” proposal in response to the state government’s RFP for the “South Reclamation Scheme” (well-chosen word).
These reports have not been shared by the winning consultant or state government with the people of Penang, though they have been requested on numerous occasions and constitute essential reading if the public is to understand the proposed and greatly revised plan that came out of this successful RFP and indeed “Game Changer”.
The Consumer Association of Penang organized a National Seminar on Changing directions from 7-10 September 2001 in Penang, subsequent to which a report was published and we now make freely available here in its entirety at https://goo.gl/kQVD0T. This is a remarkably prescient document which was largely ignored at the time despite the vigorous effort of the Consumers’ Association of Penang and others in the city’s lively civil society and NGOs. Somehow neither Penang or the national government were prepared to devote time and resources to finding the path to sustainable transport in cities. (And they were not the only ones.)
The policy of directly or indirectly encouraging the use of private motor cars and motorcycles to meet the transport needs of our people has had severe effects on the quality of life in the cities and on the economy and efficiency of urban transportation.
Full and open access to key documents and reports necessary for full public, NGO, media and international expert review, questions and commentary on the costs, technical details, analysis and justifications for the RM27-50 billion (it apparently depends on whom you ask and when) Penang Transport Master Plan has been seriously inhibited by the State government and their property development consultants and partners (SRS Consortium).
In the face of this resistance an informal citizen alliance and NGO task force has emerged and started to assemble and make freely available a growing library of key documents. At present there are more than 200 volumes and working papers already assembled in the library at https://goo.gl/xjCRT9.
We 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.)
Help needed for better balanced coverage of ongoing Penang TMP discussions and next moves
From the beginning of my relationship with Penang starting in the summer of 2013, I decided as part of my original exploratory mission with Think City to create an open public website to share my experience widely with my international colleagues. And then based on this common data platform from time to time to solicit their professional views on technical areas with which I may be familiar for the point of view of policy, but in which I am not technically qualified.
The platform is entitled Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda. It went on line on 20 June 2013, has been carefully maintained since, and you can find it at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/
My goal in doing this was to create something along the lines of a personal “Journal of Record” of all I was seeing, hearing and learning about transport and land use issues, analysis, planning and policy in your beautiful and oh so delicate city-state. The intention was to open up the issues and discussions taking place in Penang to our extensive network of international colleagues, hopefully from a balanced professional perspective and in a comprehensive manner.
The goal of this section of the Sustainable Penang supporting websites is to provide easy access to anyone from within Penang or beyond in order to get a clear understanding of what is going on in the at-times painful path of contradictory and withheld information on the topic of how best to go about creating a sustainable, efficient and equitable mobility system for all in Penang. It works like this.