Sunday, October 2, 2011

Park and Ride Scheme for Penang Hill

Penang Hill lately has been plagued with controversy after controversy since the upgrading of the funicular train system. The frequent breakdown of the new funicular train system, the construction of a Kancil car park full of flaws, and the controversial and dystopian sheltered walkway, the resulting chaos due to tour buses and cars parked haphazardly, the resulting traffic congestion and long beeline of queue as thousands of tourists swamped the area, all these are the by product of the ad hoc approach adopted by Lim Guan Eng administration towards development.
If you think that enough is enough, another scandalous decision to allow the Kek Lo Si temper to build a 1000 car park is threatening to plague the built environment with disastrous destruction. Renowned architect Dr Jimmy Lim Cheok Siang, who has been hand picked by Lim Guan Eng to undertake the Penang Hill facelift project, when commented on this scandalous decision described the move like pumping large volume of blood into an already choked blood vein, a move that will have Penangites heart attack.
We have witnessed Lim Guan Eng and Ting Hock Nam spar over the Penang Hill development. How Lim Guan Eng vehemently denied that there is a plan to resume the proposed development by Berjaya in Penang Hill. Now suddenly there is rumor that Lim Guan Eng administration has approved a 1000 car park facilities for Kek Lo Si temple. The project will involved excavation, trees removal and major landscape change. It also encourage private car use on an already congested road at Air Hitam.
As Jimmy Lim has pointed out that we do not need rocket scientists to solve the traffic woes of Penang Hill. Let see is there any truth in his statement.

Even if the Kancil car park is not mired in sloppy design controversy, it can hardly cope with the demand for parking space. Lim Guan Eng administration should discourage the people from using their private cars to go to Penang Hill or Kek Lo Si temple. The state government can arrange with RapidPenang to provide shuttle bus services in a Park and Ride scheme. The shopping complexes or malls play an important role of providing parking facilities to commuters. Without parking facilities, it will be very hard to persuade commuters to opt for public transports or carpooling. Most shopping complexes would be happy to provide the parking facilities at nominal fees in order to attract commuters to their complexes especially during economy downturn. The state government should encourage shopping malls like Tesco and Sunshine Falim to allocate parking lots to help provide parking spaces for the Park and Ride facilities. People can park their cars at Tesco or Sunshine Falim and take a shuttle bus to Penang Hill or Kek Lo Si temple. RapidPenang and the shopping malls will not be able to reject the offer as the number of tourist that go to both destination amount to nearby 10 thousand during public holiday session. The shopping mall can help to adsorb the cost of travelling ticket for those who purchase above certain amount at their shopping malls.
For those who prefer to use their private vehicle, an exorbitant parking fees should be leveraged to discourage them from using their own vehicle. The road leading to the Penang Hill or Kek Lo Si temple should be classified as towing zone. Any car parked haphazardly should be towed away immediately.

This initiative does not required funding from Ng Yan Yan or Najib. It is a real win win solution to Penangites be it RapidPenang, Shopping malls, the tourist , the nearby residents or Penangites as a whole.
Lim Guan Eng administration should show it's political wisdom and political will to implement the solution within 3 months time frame, otherwise the Bo Hood Party can unilaterally arrange with all the stakeholders and make it a success story to prove that Lim Guan Eng is totally useless and hopeless in bring changes to Penang.
If Lim Guan Eng administration fail to implement this solution, we can tell Penangites without mistake:
Test 5 years die 5 years, try another term die forever. Ci Go Ni Si Go Ni, Ci Ka Zi Gai Si Ci Si Lang.

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