Make road safer, council urged

A car turning right into Codrington Avenue from Burmah Road.  A ‘triangular island’ separates one lane for right-turning  traffic.

A car turning right into Codrington Avenue from Burmah Road. A ‘triangular island’ separates one lane for right-turning traffic.

ALMOST four years have passed since a one-way traffic system was implemented in Pulau Tikus, Penang, but some people still think the old two-way system is better suited for the area.

Coffee shop operator Neoh Chee Beng, 43, claimed that more accidents have occured in Burmah Road since it became a one-way street.

“My coffee shop is located along Burmah Road right in front of the Codrington Avenue junction so I can see everything that happens on the street.

“When it was a two-way street, motorists could easily turn left into Codrington Avenue.

“Now, there is a ‘triangular island’ in place for motorists to turn into Codrington Avenue but many miss the turning on the right and then try to cut into the road.

“This endangers other road users,” he claimed at a press conference held by Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey.

On Thursday, Foo Swee Wah, 58, was hit by a motorcycle when she was about to cross Burmah Road.

Neoh said many pedestrians who live around the area would usually walk to the market and shops.

He said the one-way system caused traffic in Burmah Road and Kelawei Road in Pulau Tikus to split into three lanes instead of two.

“This make it nearly impossible for pedestrians to cross. They hestitate to cross because motorists tend to speed down the one-way road,” said Neoh, a resident of Pulau Tikus for more than 40 years.

The council turned 19 busy roads in Pulau Tikus into one-way streets on July 27, 2013.

Yap said the move to change Burmah Road and Kelawei Road into one-way streets was aimed at coping with the steep increase in the Tanjung Bungah and Mount Erskine population.

“Since the change, the number of vehicles travelling from east to west along Persiaran Gurney as well as Kelawei Road, Burmah Road and Macalister Road has also increased.

“I strongly urge the Penang Island City Council or other interested partners to redesign Burmah Road so it can be more pedestrian-friendly,” she said in a press statement on Thursday.

When asked if the council’s ‘Pedestrian is King’ campaign was a failure, Yap said any campaign that wanted to change how people think and behave would need a long time to become effective.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to support walking because people who walk help make a better city and climate for us all,” she said.

The ‘Pedestrian is King’ campaign was launched at the end of 2015 under a five-year project to educate the public on making Penang a pedestrian heaven.