Dear Friends and members of this open public forum,
We are now getting into the true nitty-gritty fundamentals here and I would not like to leave this behind us too quickly. The disagreements are creative and as far as I am concerned a critical part of the reason we are here. Here are a few points I would like to share with you.
- SELF-ORGANIZED SYSTEM. First, this is — as we can see if we just look — an example of a self-organized system. Yes, LTH had the brilliant — the word is not too strong – idea of inviting this group’s 24/7 open conversations, and as I think we all pretty much understood on the topic of “Sustainable Penang “, and within that broad frame the issues and contradictions that exist and that are holding back the necessary move to a well thought-out, thoroughly professional strategic vision and plan of sustainable transportation, land use and public spaces in Penang.
But in self-organizing systems, what happens is that the various participants express a variety of opinions and desires on their particular areas of expertise and concern, and gradually a– and with a little luck — the whole complicated mechanism of discussion and exchanges lurches to uncover opportunities and priorities for a truly Sustainable Penang . And that is pretty much what is happening here and which you can see clearly if you page through the full record of the discussions, either directly here (takes time) or more easily on the first of a series of regular updates on these exchanges which anyone can freely follow through our Public Library at https://goo.gl/gJTJZD.
All that said, what I think is going to happen here is that within this discussion we are going together to lurch toward a number of greater truths, together and at times uncomfortably.
World Streets, Paris. 27 January 2016
Set up as a dedicated independent group platform in April 2007, the World City Cycling Forum of World Streets has grown slowly over these nearly nine years, and just this week for the first time passed the 400 member threshold, with today exactly 411 signed in members from all continents and countries rich and poor, several thousand postings and hundreds of striking photographs. Bravo to us all!
* See https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldcitybike/
*Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry on taking over troubled Cavendish Lab in 1919
From Sustainable Penang WhatsApp 24/7 public dialogue of this date:
The following report on road safety in Penang was posted on 24 January 2016 on our joint WhatsApp Sustainable Penang site by Prof. Dr. Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah, Professor in Transport Studies at the School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He was Director-General of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) between 2008 and 2011, and was critical behind many road safety strategies of the country
This excellent independent analysis was prepared for the Sustainable Transport Environment in Penang (STEP) program by Mr. Ganesh Rasagam, Acting Chief Executive Officer, DCT Consultancy Sdn. Bhd. in Penang back in 1998, almost 20 years ago. Here you find selected extracts which we find to be particularly timely, the full text being available from http://goo.gl/dgYEv2 . We leave it to the reader to be encouraged or discouraged if we compare this with the level of knowledge, planning and proposed project efforts which are receiving attention in Penang today. An excellent wake up call that apparently got lot in the bureaucratic and electoral shuffle. Great pity for the people of Penang, but there is still time to consult these points and recommendations which are as relevant today in 2016 as they were in the late nineties..
For the working purpose of this collaborate rethinking of transport policy and planning in Penang, we have now placed on line the first six main volumes that constitute the bedrock of the 2012/13 Halcrow Consultants series – which you will now find at https://goo.gl/veBcIh.
But the reports also refer in various places to six additional documents that appear to be important and that we will need to be able to access and study in order to interpret and decide about the usefulness of specific elements of the series. These are titled as follows:
O-Bahn at station in Adelaide
On Thursday my esteemed colleague Mr. Loh Lim Lin Lee posted a note and a question to our WhatsApp Sustainable Penang forum on the topic of an O-Bahn as a possibly attractive transportation option for Penang. He wrote:
I am a huge fan of the O-Bahn in Adelaide. Extra-long buses with concertina type middles to allow turning corners running on dedicated bus lanes on normal city roads. On exiting the inner city, the bus mounts 2′ high narrow tracks that run along river embankments (to save on land purchase) locks on magnetically, runs at 100km an hour. It’s non-intrusive, quiet, totally effective. Adelaide’s population & ours share many similarities. Monorails are not cost effective for us with insufficient payload. Our tree lined roads, heritage buildings and general Penang ambience are totally incompatible with monorails.
Eric, any wise words on the O-Bahn?
Shortlist of Transformative Realities and Trends
One of the great recompenses of having watched the sustainable transportation and related technology developments evolve over the course of several decades, is that if one takes the time to step back and scan the evidence for pattern breaks, one can readily spot a certain number of fundamental structural changes, quite a few of which bode well for a different and better future for transport in and around cities. Here are a handful of the fundamental underlying changes which I have spotted over the last decades and which I would like to share with you this morning.
Let’s start with a simple listing and then go on to brief comments in an attempt to clarify. (Note; this is part of a series of Op-Eds that will continue over the month of January 2016.)