Extract from “Why Klang Valley’s road-building frenzy not for Penang”

ROAD-BUILDING UNNECESSARY TO CONNECT INACCESSIBLE AREAS: The British left Malaysia six decades ago and the “obsolete” roads they left are mainly in the city of George Town, not the suburbs. Yes, the roads in the city are narrow and not meant for high vehicular traffic and we have to learn to live with them, unless Teoh is advocating tearing down houses and uprooting trees in our heritage city. These city roads cannot, and should not, be expanded to four- or six-lane highways that bring more traffic into the city. In fact, all forward-looking cities in Europe are seeking ways to control and limit the entry of cars into cities in favour of public transport. I am surprised Teoh is arguing for the reverse.

THE COMPARISON WITH HOUSTON: Even more revealing, an MBPP traffic survey showed that 70% to 80% of private cars are single occupancy, not dissimilar to Houston’s 90%. So building more roads caters mainly to single occupancy vehicles. He also says that roads are needed for buses to travel. I will fully support building segregated bus or tram lanes, not roads for more private cars.
Furthermore, the highways proposed such as the north coast pair road, the Gurney Wharf 8-lane highway, the 6-lane Pan Island Link etc are not for connecting “inaccessible” communities; they are meant to encourage higher volume of vehicular traffic in densely populated areas.

PENANG UNLIKE KLANG VALLEY Finally, he says and hopes that Penang state should stop building new roads once this round of road-building is over. This is akin to asking someone high on drugs to stop consuming more drugs. There has been so many highways built in the Klang Valley over the past 30 years and traffic congestion has only got worse; and they have not stopped building more highways.

Penang will not go down the same treacherous path.

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