In the context of the Sustainable Penang/New Mobility 2014 program, the key to the success of the project lies in the identification and eventual preparation and implementation of concepts and measures which give more importance to non-motorized transport and public transportation than to the traditional uses of the private car. One of the concepts that came up early in the Focus Group brainstorming sessions was that of providing voice announcements for the blind and others with visual impairments on the new Rapid Penang bus services being developed across the state. In the following excellent list of needed measures prepared by the local NGO Saint Nicolas Home we see how thoroughly they are looking at the problems of mobility and access for the visually impaired. Thus it is not surprising that Saint Nicolas Home is emerging as one of the most engaged champions of this collaborative project for 2014. (We shall be seeing more about that project shortly here.)
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?
The goal of this year’s Sustainable Penang Autumn 2013 project is to see if we can use the dialogues and other contacts in order to define a series of at least ten “transformative actions” that can be planned and carried out over the fifteen months following this first program. With an eye to then reviewing progress, measure by measure, action by action, in a second event to take place in Penang in the opening months of 2015. A sort of open progress report and collaborative reflection for next steps.
Do you have the feeling that your street could be a lot better if it were designed for people and safe mobility instead of primarily for moving and parked cars? Suppose the entire width of the street, sidewalks, gutters and provision for parked and moving vehicles is, say, xx meters. And if you wanted to see what it could look like if there were more provision for safe walking, cycling, street furniture, trees and greenery, transit shelters, priority public transport, lane dividers, turn lanes, and yes, parked and moving vehicles, then have a look at Streetmix (the Website Where You Can Design Your Own Street in Penang).
Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea (basically your choir). Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. Instead from the beginning we have to take a . . .