Penang’s Green Lane: Less green or smoother flow? — Boo Soon Yew

FEBRUARY 15 — I write in response to the article in the Malay Mail (newspaper), 5th Feb 2016 entitled "CAP: What's Penang without its greenery?"

I find it to be a very steadfast and ever-faithful stand taken by the president of Consumers' Association of Penang, Mr S.M. Mohamed Idris to protect the environment, specifically the trees that line Jalan Masjid Negeri or more fondly known as Green Lane.

I applaud CAP's and its president's tenacity, which however is inadequately weighed upon.

He cites previous upgrading project undertook by the then MPPP to remove 60 trees along a 700m stretch from the Jln Udini (now Jln Tunku Kudin) roundabout to the Shell Petrol Station near Jln Delima in 2012.

Seems such a long time, close to 4 years. But I remember the press coverage then that showed a young girl clinging passionately to a soon-to-be-removed tree. Oh what drama, oh what noise was made then which looks to be repeated 4 years on.

En Idris is quoted "If even by widening the road the problem of traffic congestion still remains.." which is an understandable premise for his and CAP's argument. However, I beg to differ!!

I ask this question firstly, does Mr Idris stay in the Green Lane area? I also ask if any of your CAP members stay in front, and I mean directly in front of the works at that Udini to Shell stretch?

If you do not stay there, then permit me who do, and hence have a stronger locus standi to state my case.

The 2012 Green Lane Upgrade with Trees Relocation or Chopping (for dead trunks) was a BRAVE undertaking which has HELPED alleviate traffic flow tremendously!! Ask any parent, school bus driver or worker who commutes along Green Lane from 6am till 7am.. and they will attest to the improved flow.

Reversely ask those who travel at 4pm to 5pm and even the weekend travelers from 7am till 10am.

Now note I qualified my statement with those time intervals. It is because on other timing, especially the peak hours, then Green Lane is swamped with a high volume that just causes all motorists to turn exasperated.

This will be further amplified during long weekends with extra high visitors from the mainland. So Penangites better brace for terrible traffic this Chinese New Year holidays.

Another aspect not seen by environmentalists are the viability of the trees, the huge trees along Green Lane. 60 trees were cited in the 2012 exercise. The remaining ones in that stretch of Green Lane from Udini till the State Mosque has seen no less than 3 big trees fallen during windy storms. Thankfully there were no loss of lives in those 3 incidences.

One huge tree fell on that fateful afternoon when the Menara Umno tower top structure fell down in super strong winds to claim the life of a man.

The other 2 trees fell across at or near McDonald's which is the EXACT location where the current Upgrade Project is undertaken by MBPP.

So is CAP going to be responsible for fighting for these trees which in turn may have a hollow trunk and can collapse at the next windy storm?

Can CAP deny that this extra lane will not alleviate traffic flow from the junction with Lrg Batu Lancang till the State Mosque?

If we can answer these questions honestly, then we will all arrive on the conclusion of the necessity of this project.

 * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.