INPUT NEEDED: Public invited to give their feedback on the draft copy
GEORGE TOWN: MEMBERS of the public can view and give feedback on the draft copy of the Penang Transport Master Plan from April 16 to 24 at the Komtar building.
The highly awaited master plan encompassing several proposals to ease the chronic traffic congestion on the island and the mainland will be subject to scrutiny and revisions, depending on the public response.
The transport blueprint, prepared by public transport consultant David Turner from the United Kingdom who was engaged by the state government, seeks a solution to the perennial bumper-to-bumper daily traffic flow in Penang.
Upon expiry of the public display, the draft copy will make its rounds to various shopping complexes for people to give their views.
Turner presented in-depth strategies and options to alleviate the traffic situation during a three-hour local government consultative forum with some 100 participants, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), public transport stakeholders and government officials at the ballroom of the Gurney Resort and Residences in Gurney Drive here recently.
Among the proposals mooted were the construction of new roads and highways that zigzag across the state as well as new forms of transport modes, including the revival of the tram services used during the British colonisation and the catamarans used to ferry commuters across the water channel.
Turner also suggested that Rapid Penang expand its public transport coverage to the suburban areas of the island and the rural suburbs on the mainland.
In a move to quell traffic snarls and to encourage commuting, Turner urged the state government to consider charging vehicles for entry into the inner city and raising parking fees.
He outlined the short- and long-term solutions to tackling the influx of vehicles from now until 2030 with a series of holistic methods focused on pedestrian safety and the construction of new roads.
Turner concurred that the construction of a third link -- a 6.5km sea tunnel connecting Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam on the mainland -- was not a viable option because of the lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment.
Some 20 participants shared their opinions during the session. They gave inputs to address the notorious traffic jams, including the use of electric cars and the barring of private vehicles from entering the George Town Unesco World Heritage site in the inner city.
Chow Kon Yeow, state local government and Traffic Management Committee chairman, said the final Penang Transport Master Plan would be incorporated into the Penang Local Plan.
"I hope the public and NGOs will come forward to highlight the shortcomings of the draft Transport Master Plan, and we will find ways to fine-tune it.
"The draft copy will be available for public viewing at any time in the two local council headquarters."