Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Promising Lifestyle for Penangites?

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.

Take a look at the following table regarding typical densities. The 1300 dwelling units on 20 acres translated to 65 dwelling units per acre far exceeding the 20 residents per acre as defined in the table for high density residential occupancy. Density refers to the number of people or jobs in an area. A dwelling unit typically consists of average 3 residents, making this project having a density of 65x3=195 residents per acre. About 10 time higher than the permitted density without taking into consideration the commercial traffic generated by shopping events. Who on planet earth can approve such type of extreme congested development? Only in this Bolehland where both Pakatan and BN state governments have the stupidity to make such an incredible decision on development density.

Table 1 Typical Densities (Source: TDM Encyclopedia)


Population Density

Typical Housing


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.

For an average daily trips per day of 8 for a dwelling unit of 3 residents, the 1300 dwellings will generate 8x1300=102400 car trips per day on Lebuhraya Thean Teik. Additional traffic to and from the commercial development is unknown but may be significant. Consider the length of less than 2 km, how on earth will Lebuhraya Thean Teik going to accommodate the increased traffic when it already facing heavy traffic problem without those additional development.

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.

The land is deemed topographically unsuitable for high density residential occupancy and commercial traffic. Disregard the land use compatibility with the surrounding neighborhoods and traffic , would make this project a big time failure.

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?

Will the project eventually end up as another suburban sprawl due to bad traffic congestion along Lebuhraya Thean Teik? It could also end up as another abandoned or lowly-occupied commercial and residential area. Only a fool without common sense would invest his/her hard-earned money on a project that is destined to fail from the very beginning.

The state government should stop all the excavation carried out on the slope as it is a dangerous activity and being done without studying the full impact of the instability problems of the entire hill slope. Is the state government allowing developers to build in spite of landslide hazards and disregarding the safety of the surrounding neighborhoods? Even if the project might lead to a calamity of catastrophic proportions in the future?

Lim Guan Eng may again blame Koh Tze Koon for the approval of the project, and claimed that it is too costly for the state government to stop the project. This will end up as another example where developer gets his way with no benefit to the environment and the people. The existence of such type of project speak badly about the competency, accountability and transparency of the current state government.


  1. I am glad you have written about these projects "All Seasons Park and Melody Homes" so called promising lifestyle for the Penangites. Whoever have bought or invested in these projects is going to have nightmares everyday. Even before the projects had been completed the traffic is already very congested that it is so stressful to drive through that stretch of road. I just can't imagine what the traffic would be like when both the projects complete. What about the recently completed project 'Boulevard Condonimium' with total 420 units having just obtained OC. but have not being fully occupied?

    I totally agree with you the project will eventually end up as another suburban sprawl due to bad traffic congestion along Lebuhraya Thean Teik. It would definitely also end up as another abandoned or lowly-occupied commercial and residential area. Yes, only a fool without common sense would invest his/her hard-earned money on a project that is destined to fail from the very beginning. GOOD LUCK, to those who have already purchased and invested in these projects.

  2. That Boulevard Condonimium can be declared dead prematurely, bad feng shui, allegedly haunted by a battalion of ghosts in the number of thousand.

  3. The recently completed project should be BL Avenue with a total of 168 units with O.C already obtained but have not being fully occupied. Just visit this website: http://www.apartment-penang.com/2008/02/bl-avenue.html and you can find many units up for sale.

    The Boulevard Condominium with a total of 420 units have just being launched recently and I believed is still under construction which is expected to complete in mid 2011. http://www.apartment-penang.com/2008/08/reka-indah-development-boulevard.html

  4. A comment written by mikewang at malaysia-today.net, February 19, 2010 12:34:13
    Dear Mr Ong.

    If your estimation is correct, this would put the land population density of this project at 48,185 persons/sq kilometer.

    Compare this to Kwun Tong in Hong Kong in Mid-2008, with 51 600 persons per square kilometre, was the most densely populated district among the District Council districts in Hong Kong.

    I hope buyers are sufficiently warned.
    The developer should be compelled to state the intended density in their brochures.

  5. Sorry, I thought BL Avenue is Boulevard Condonimium. This is an additional bad news. With Boulevard Condonimium coming into pix, Lebuhraya Thean Teik will be paralysed, if all those dwelling units are fully occupied.

  6. When LGE rope in Belleview to revive the previously abandoned project, did he ever study the underlying cause why the project is abandoned? Did LGE really know what he is doing when he give approval to the building plan? All those are the questions that LGE must answer to prove that he never intend to perpetual the wrong of KTK.

  7. Dear Mr. Ong,

    Actually I don't blame the gomen or the developers.

    It's the STUPID PENANGITES that needs to bear the blunt.

    They are so stupid that anyone build anything and the stupid Penangites will flock over and demand the developers to TAKE THEIR MONEY !!

    Remember the failed projects in Paya Terubung? A massive project with a RM 2 developer?

    Still the stupid Penangites never learn !

    Bad feng shui or not, the stupid Penangites will guarantee flocking the developers, begging the developers to take their hard earned money !

  8. Anonymous

    Could you provide best aprt ot condo in PG ?

  9. 20 acres is for 808 units, not including Melody Homes. So assume like you mentioned 3 members per unit, 40.4x3 = 121.2 residents per acre.

    I believe 60% buyers are already staying in Air
    Itam. 30% working in Air Itam but currently not staying in Air Item. 10% just want to buy a home at Air Itam but work else where.

    For those factory workers (middle class) in Bayan Baru, they will move out from Air Itam soon.

    Road from Batu Lancang to Thean Tiek will expand, turn left into Thean Tiek no need to wait for traffic light. This will ease the traffic abit. See the link below:

  10. New one-lane flyover will also be constructed linking Lebuhraya Batu Lanchang to Jalan Masjid Negeri for traffic heading towards the State Mosque.

    This will ease the traffic from Thean Tiek turning right to Jalan Masjid.

  11. Correction: This will ease the traffic from Thean Tiek turn left to Lorong Batu Lanchang than turn right to Jalan Masjid.

    Road improvement to complete within 18 months, that is the time when All Season is near completion.