See the latest government announcements, vigorous discussions and media coverage of the proposed 2015 public bicycle project for George Town on our supporting Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang.
The just-elected new Mayor of Paris, Madame Anne Hidalgo, has prepared a revolutionary sustainable mobility project whereby virtually all of the streets of the city will be subject to a maximum speed limit of 30 km/hr.
The only exceptions in the plan are a relatively small number of major axes into the city and along the two banks of the Seine, where the speed limit will be 50 km/hr, and the city’s hard pressed ring road (périphérique) where the top permissible speed has recently been reduced from 80 to 70 km/hr. At the other end of the slowth spectrum are a certain number of “meeting zones” (zones de rencontre) spotted around the city in which pedestrians and cyclists have priority but mix with cars which are limited to a top speed of 20 km/hr. A veritable révolution à la française.
One of the most important early programs to create in Penang, and particularly in the first instance in George Town, will be to devise a system in which people who wish to come to the city for reasons of work or other will have a high quality, affordable alternative to using their own car. The immediate model to be examined and adapted has come to be known by the name of BRT or Bus Rapid Transit. It is an approach with many variations, which need to be adapted to the specifics of the city served. The basic idea is simplicity itself: namely to create priority lanes for public transport and services which offer more than competitive advantages to private cars.
Penang will not have to invent such a system from scratch. Happily there is a rich background of experience in cities around the world and also in Asia. By way of background information, we here draw your attention to a presentation of international experience and lessons learned from projects in many parts of the world by a foremost authority in the field, Professor Geetam Tiwari of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD). There is already interest in Penang in such services , and now is the time to turn that interest into reality.
As we are seeing in these pages Penang in general and Georgetown in particular are giving serious attention to the possibility of creating a public bicycle system for the city. As a first step they have issued a Request for Proposals which is shortly to come online. This is a great thing because there are many reasons to create conditions for safe and agreeable cycling on city streets across the state.