PENANG TRANSPORT MASTER PLAN WATCHING BRIEF (Nov. 2018 Update)

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– Eric Britton, Paris. Update of 31 October 2018

Why a Watching Brief for Penang?

On 23 November 2013 I submitted the final report and recommendations to close out the first stage of my planned work as an invited adviser and critic of Penang’s transportation strategy, plans and procedures.  (See the Mission statement at  https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/the-mission/ ) The report was intended as a working draft for wide distribution  and vigorous critical discussion in the following months. It was entitled:

“SUSTAINABLE PENANG: TOWARD A NEW MOBILITY AGENDA”      

    Phase 1 Report, Brainstorming  and Policy Recommendations 

You can access the full advisory report here –  http://bit.ly/2IqZ0PO

HOLD IT!  Expected next stage not engaged. What happened?

When the report and its recommendations were apparently set aside and entirely ignored — as had been the fate of the  excellent, highly professional reports and recommendations of the Halcrow Transport Group — I decided not to let it ride and instead of turning my back on this highly dangerous “Master Plan” project chose to set up a public “Watching Brief on Sustainable Transport in Penang” . The objective of the brief is to follow and report to a wide international audience on the continuing see-saw battle between an obstinate under-qualified state government consortium and powerful lobby with a closed-door multi-billion dollar “Big Bang” (their words) program of massive infrastructure expansion, almost all parts of which would in good time succeed only in making what is already a bad situation (mainly nothing more fearful than a plain-vanilla peak hour congestion problem) significantly worse.

After noting the resounding silence in Penang as far as my analysis and recommendations were concerned, my option was to cash the client’s check, do nothing and forget Penang.  Or perhaps to set up something along the lines of an independent . .  .

Watching Brief on Penang’s evolving transport situation and disputes

The goal of this internet platform and associated social media sites then  is to support legitimate sustainable transport initiatives, critical thinking, open discussions, new ideas, consistent policy, fruitful alliances and fact-oriented discussion and anything else that might help advance the public’s understanding of the New Mobility Agenda in Penang.  The watching brief also keeps a careful eye open to identify, feed and encourage public discussion of what are almost surely in this case poor science, bad ideas, absurd proposals and  ad hoc initiatives which violate the basic precepts of the sustainability agenda.

A watching brief is a continuous, independent, and in this case open collaborative monitoring activity of progress and problems taking place in a specific sector or area. It takes a arms-length vision of the focus area and in this case is made broadly available to the public and all involved as a tool in support of Civil Society in Penang.

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52 BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER MEASURES your city could start to do tomorrow morning to SAVE THE PLANET . . . cut GHG emissions and reduce traffic accidents, save lives, strengthen the economy, and improve mobility and quality of life for all.

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We often hear that transportation reform  is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city  And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.

To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all.  These approaches are not just “nice ideas”.  They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.

(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)

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Op-Ed: Handling Uncertainty in Transport Planning and Decision Making

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Report of a roundtable discussion held in London on 20 July 2018.

– by Glenn Lyons.  Full report available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/37926

Abstract

In the 1700s, the French philosopher Voltaire reportedly said “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” The transport sector is becoming increasingly alive to how uncertain the future is. There is significant (or ‘deep’) uncertainty about the extent to which existing trends, relationships, technologies, economic and social forces, preferences and constraints will carry into the future. Uncomfortable though it may be, there is a need in our transport planning and decision making to avoid absurdity and address this. This report reflects the insights gained from a roundtable workshop in London convened to discuss the matter.

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EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK: 2018 MANUAL AND USER HANDBOOK

CLIMATE IS THE ULTIMATUM BEFORE OUR GENERATION

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2018 EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK MANUAL:

          Including thematic guidelines, handbook for local campaigners, and Car Free Day organizer benchmarks

Introduction

This Manual contains all the necessary information for towns and cities planning to organise  EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK from 16-22 September 2018.  It includes:
• the Thematic Guidelines for an explanation of the 2018 theme: ‘Multimodality’
• the Handbook for local campaigners presenting the requirements for taking part in this
European initiative.

The Manual starts with background information about the campaign. It also includes a list of useful links at the end of the document, and an extensive se of cautions and guidliens for the organizing of Car Free Days in your city.

The aim of this publication is to inspire local campaigners to organise attractive campaign activities, to implement relevant permanent measures and to celebrate Car-Free Day. There is also a chapter on how to apply for the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK Awards. Towns and cities are free to adapt these guidelines to the local context. The information included here is not exhaustive; new ideas are always welcome to complement this Manual.

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Penang Op-Ed. Why bulldoze through Penang undersea tunnel project?

 

This is the fourth article in a series to explain why the Penang state government should get an independent review of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). Ahmad Hilmy & Lim Mah Hui  |  Published: 6 Aug 2018. https://www.malaysiakini.co

ANALYSIS | Why does Penang need to rush to have the 7.2km undersea tunnel project when the original Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) officially adopted by the state government clearly states that it is not an urgent priority?

Why this haste when the survey of Penang’s traffic volume by UK-based engineering consultant Halcrow showed that cross-channel traffic in 2011 accounted for only 7 percent of total state traffic during peak hours?

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A Short History of Car Free Days (Weeks, Months, Cities): Origins, Timeline, Progress

Toledo (Spain), 22 Sept. 1994 . Ciudades Accessibles (Accessible Cities) Conference
“Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the street and think about it.”

INDIA GUARGON CAR FREE DAY BICYCLIST

Here is how the Car Free Days movement got started and has taken shape over the last 24 years.  This is the second in a series of articles which we update and post annually just prior to the September rush to get the latest batch of Car Free Day/New Mobility Agenda projects off the ground. We hope that these pieces and the references you find here are going to prove useful to those responsible for making a success of their Days in 2018 and beyond. Getting a CFD right and making it a real success is no easy task — good knowledge of what has worked and not worked in the past should serve you well. Continue reading