While we wait for Malaysiakini report on this, let me provide a few suggestions. Other news at Malaysiakini.
Since I stay in Penang, I will weigh the situation and comment about Penang chaotic environment and how the new State Government handles them. Other States may want to take up my humble suggestions or pursue their own better solutions.
Two subjects, Traffic Congestions and Hill Developments.
Lets look at the Island traffic system. Until a proper transportation system (be it the MRT, Skytrain or Tram Bus) is put in place, the volume of cars moving on the limited and narrow road systems are increasing by the day and chaotic traffic jams are bound to occur. Penang drivers are famous for their skill in jumping queue, double parking and park just anywhere they can find a space to squeeze in their cars.
The State Government must take action now and implement strict and workable solutions to reduce the chaotic traffic situations.
1) Solve The Illegal Parking.
Illegal parking is one of the main cause of traffic jams. Parking or waiting at a "no parking no waiting sign", parking where "no parking sign" is glaring at them, double parking and waiting in the middle of the road and hazardous parking.
We do see MPPP issuing summons, but the rich Penang lang can afford to pay the RM30 or get someone who knows someone to strike out the compound.
My solution for these menace parking are:
a)Increase the compound amount to say, RM150 and payment is compulsory unless they are going to fight it in court and no one inside MPPP or Government have the power to strike out the compound.
b)Tow the car away. MPPP should buy a few tow trucks to start towing away cars that are park illegally and hazardously. To get back their cars, motorists will have to foot the towing fees, usually around RM200 to RM300 and pay the usual compound of RM150. Three times offenders will also have their driving licenses revoke.
Although this is not a popular move, the situation warrants strict and tough measures to curb these menace way of parking.
2)Roads and Street Directions.
Most of the Island roads are narrow and to allow two way flow is not the best solution when cars on the road are increasing everyday. The complaint if converted to one way is the increase in travelling time and the distance but if you compare it with the traffic jam, its worth considering.
a)The three main roads that can be converted to one way are, Gurney Drive, Kelawei Road and Burma Road (part of it is already one way) which are running parallel.
b)Another two Roads to look into are Tanjong Tokong and Mt Erskine.
c)Ayer Itam and roads leading to Farlim and Paya Terubong is worth studying and look into.
d)The last I can think of is Perak Road and Jelutong.
All the streets running across these main roads can be one way alternatively.
3) Traffic Lights.
This is the cause of traffic jams especially when they are not synchronized systematically.
Penang Island is in the Guinness Book of world records for having the most traffic lights. You will encounter traffic lights almost everywhere and within a KM of each other. This cannot be right. You can reduce almost half of the present numbers of traffic lights if suggestion #2 is implemented.
4)Reduce cars travelling into Georgetown during peak hours.
This is a little tough but if the right method is used it should help the chaotic traffic situation.
a)Enforce car pooling. Pay a price if you do not want to car pool. 3 People in a car entering the red zone (heart of Georgetown) will have to pay RM2 per entry, 2 people RM5 and single RM10.
b)Car plates with ending odd numbers can only enter on Mon, Weds and Fri while the ending even numbers can enter on Tues and Thurs.
If the above are carried out, they must be designed and applied with the future transportation system (MRT, Skytrain or Tram bus system) in mind in order that they can work and complement each other.
And lastly, with the second bridge coming up, planning must start now for the whole traffic system incorporating areas like Bayan Baru, Bayan Lepas, Gelugor and maybe Greenlane and Jelutong as well. Don't wait until we face the problem, than only we start to work on it, by then its too late.
These are the very basic things that the Penang Government must implement. If the Federal Government is not going to provide the Funding, then, somehow we must go international to "BEG BORROW OR STEAL" and come out with a solution.
Note: As this posting is quite long, I will write on Hill Developments on the next posting.
Any Penangnites or Malaysians who have experience with this Penang chaotic situations, you can suggest or express your opinions on the comment box.