A promising premier lifestyle destination located on 20 acres of prime land, without enough setback and buffer from Lebuhraya Thean Teik. The property is surrounded by 1,300 residential units of All Seasons Park and Melody Homes and 115 units of three-storey shop lots, and flanked at both ends by major anchor tenants.
Is this a smart-growth that promise reduced congestion, clean air, affordable housing, open space protection, and reduced urban-service costs?
There is 4 areas of major concern that the Penang state government has failed to consider when approving the project:
1) Traffic circulation
2) Storm water erosion
3) Land use compatibility
4) Housing stock
The project site is located along a short stretch of a narrow street without alternative routes provided to divert traffic circulation. Without enough front, side and rear yard setback and buffer zone, it is a very ambitious project that attempt to put too many people on too little land; 1300 residential units with thousands of shoppers on a 20 acres of land with a single access road of less than a kilo meter.
Table 1 Typical Densities (Source: TDM Encyclopedia)
Less than 0.5 residents per acre.
Houses on large lots (>5 acres)
Low-Density – Suburban
0.5-5 residents per acre.
Houses on lots 0.5 to 5 acres
Mid-Density – Suburban Cluster or Urban
5-12 residents per acre.
Houses on lots 0.2 to 0.5 acres (2-5 houses per acre)
Compact – Urban
More than 12 residents per acre.
Various combinations of detached houses on small lots, duplexes, townhouses, and low-rise (under 4 story) apartments and condominiums.
More than 20 residents per acre
Low- and high-rise (more than 4 story) apartments and condominiums.
The project is build on an excavated hill slope with limited space for parking and driving and for entry and exit points. As there are no right-hand turns when exiting from the project site, the project will create enormous traffic problems for Lebuhraya Thean Teik and its surrounding neighborhoods. Channeling all traffic into one intersection without a single traffic light is the best recipe for traffic congestion. Definitely not a best solution for prosperity.
Development is not about just building more high-rises and shopping complexes. It should be about the sustainability of the project itself. The state government should explain how the project could benefit the Air Itam township in terms of providing employment opportunities, reducing commuting pressures, generating local demand for services and supporting industries and generating demand for housing?