Kuala Lumpur Car Free Morning (KLCFM)
The mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, is engaged in an interesting experiment which got underway in January this year with the announcement by the city of a “Cycling Sunday”, to take place on the first Sunday of each month from 7:30 to 9:30 during which time a six kilometer stretch of streets in the central area is made (car) traffic free and reserved for cycling. On the first Sunday more than 1000 people came out to take advantage of the traffic free stretch: adults and children, cyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders and online skaters among them.
In an article entitled Traffic Congestion in Penang, published by the Penang Transport Council on 31 March 2010, we can get an idea of the level of awareness shown by State government of traffic congestion issues and eventual solutions at the time. One important missing piece of the puzzle in their overview is the lack of consideration of land use and related urban planning issues and measures. Something which is very much in the hands of local government. Many of these points come up again in the 2013 Transport Master Plan Strategy for the State of Penang. And as of the date of this posting (13 May 2014) are still very much unresolved.
Let’s have a closer look at the composition, contributions and independence of the Penang
Transport Council in the weeks ahead. There may be some interesting lessons there.
Fortunately Penang does not have to start from the beginning and all by itself reinvent its presently troubled transportation arrangements to create a beautiful and sustainable city. There are many cities in different parts of the world who have in the past addressed these same challenges, patiently, consistently and with continuity and excellent results. So in many ways there is nothing new; it all depends on how you put it together. And it is these cities and these projects that provide examples for Penang. All of these examples taken together constitute what we call the New Mobility Agenda. Let us have a look as been learned over the last three decades in these “rethinking cities”.
Underlying objective: All of the strategic points set out in the following have already been adopted by leading cities around the world, many of them in Europe. And they will in time be adopted, adapted and put into service in Penang. But the objective of this program’s is to accelerate this learning process, in the hope of gaining at least five maybe ten or more years in bringing world-class mobility to Penang.
This posting is part of a stimulating dialogue in which two contrasting views of the role and practice of city cycling are discussed. Because the issues examined here are in many ways universal and fundamental to the success of a city cycling program, including the on-going early Spring of a much needed cycling Renaissance in Penang, we are pleased to be able to share this first article with our readers. (PS. We need more creative disagreement between informed people such as this. If everyone agrees too quickly mediocrity invariably results. Sustainability is hard and challenging work.)
Bicycling within a Comprehensive Transport Plan,
to Solving Traffic Congestion
Dr Lim Mah Hui, Address to MPPP Council Meeting, October 25, 2013
We must start to draw up a bicycle strategy, policy and plan and this must be integrated into town planning. It should be coherent, not piece-meal and ad hoc. It must be bottom-up and not just top-down, i.e., the bicyclists must be intimately involved in the planning. The plan must include a budget
Say good-bye to Old Mobility
“Old Mobility” – with its drumbeat stress on steadily increasing supply, more
vehicles, higher speeds, longer distances and more infrastructure as the auto-pilot, unexamined answer to our city mobility problems — has been the favored path for decision-making and investment in the sector over the last 70 years. It is well-known and easy to see where it is leading. Aggressing the planet, costing us a bundle, draining the world’s petroleum reserves, and delivering poor service for the transport majority. It’s time to learn from the best of the rest, the several hundred cities, many of them in Europe, that are showing the way for the rest.
In city after city, country after country around the world elected politicians all too often have given ample proof that when it comes to sustainability, transport, fairness and even efficiency they just don’t get it. They plan and spend hard-earned taxpayer money for a distinct minority of all citizens and voters. It is amazing that they still manage to get elected. What’s going on?