Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jelutong Traffic Hell

Ever since they announced the conversion of some roads in Jelutong from one-way streets back to two-way, I knew it was a major mistake and the residents and businesses there are idiots to actually think they could save time and petrol from this change. My journey along Jalan Jelutong last Saturday only confirmed my observations and justified my convictions.

Previously, if you were going to Batu Lanchang or Jelutong from Georgetown, you would have to take Jalan Jelutong since there are no exits along the Jelutong Expressway into these areas. Now that Jalan Jelutong has been converted back to a two-way street after nearly two decades, and to ensure smooth-flowing traffic, you are unable to make any right turns into Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim or Lebuhraya Gelugor.

Due to that change, you can neither use the Jelutong Expressway or Jelutong Road now to get to Batu Lanchang or Jelutong from Georgetown. Previously, you could turn right at Lebuhraya Gelugor to get to Jelutong or Batu Lanchang. So, the only way to get into these areas now is through Jalan Masjid Negeri which is too well-known for its traffic. Either that or you could travel the whole of Jalan Jelutong and make a u-turn at the Jalan Udini roundabout to get into Lebuhraya Gelugor. Mind you, the queue at the roundabout can be very, very, very long so braving the jam on Jalan Masjid Negeri would seem the lesser of two evils although it's a longer route.

I don't see how this traffic system would help businesses either. Those coming from Georgetown can't get to Maybank, AmBank or the other businesses on that side of the road. Of course, you could make a turning before the Penang Squash Centre if you really need to get to any of these shops but most likely, I'll rather go to another shop than to go through so much hassle, wouldn't you? Likewise, if you're coming from Bayan Baru, you can't get to the shops from the other side of the road. The only way would be to make a big loop like in the old traffic system. If that's the case, why change the traffic system at all?

True, traffic can be quite bad on Lebuhraya Gelugor with the old traffic system but I don't see how much this would change the situation since most people who wants to head to Georgetown would rather take the Jelutong Expressway than to slowly chug around on Jalan Jelutong, and that's the only major benefit from the change to the new system, a smoother and shorter drive to Georgetown. There will still be a lot of cars travelling on Lebuhraya Gelugor, maybe more since it's two-way traffic now. The cars may be moving slower now compared to before but it's only because the traffic dispersal is bad, so is this what they really want?!? More carbon emissions spewing into their homes?

I can see the necessity of this change but it's premature to do it now. Until the Jelutong Expressway is fully completed with all exits in place, capable of dispersing traffic from all these areas, Jalan Jelutong and the other affected roads should remain one-way. Traffic is already heavy when it was one-way. Can you imagine how bad it is now when it is two-way?

The residents and businesses constantly and selfishly lobbied for the change and when they finally got it, they are now complaining it's worse than before. [PDF] WTF?!? You mean you couldn't see this happening when they came out with the plan? Are Jelutong folks really that shallow and/or short-sighted? That's why I say the Jelutong folks are a naive lot to actually believe this would be a change for the better. It will, but now's not the right time. If the Jelutong folks were the only ones suffering from this folly of theirs, I would just leave the system to remind them of their silly mistake. Unfortunately, Jelutong is one of the nerve centres on the island and now others have to share in this hardship caused by some selfish and brainless folks who are better off keeping their heads buried under the sand. At least then they wouldn't harm anyone else but themselves.

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