Traffic Jam and My Blog

If you are Malaysian and have been reading or listening to the news yesterday, you would know what I am talking about. Yesterday morning, I was caught in the mother of all traffic jams, the worst ever traffic jam in Penang’s history.

It all started when I received an email with these attached last Friday. I believe most of the people working in factories in Bayan Lepas got these too.

fre-Brochure(2)

fre-Brochure(1)

So what transpired yesterday was: It took me two and a half hours to get from my home’s car park to the office’s car park (7.30 AM – 10.00 AM), because I had to drive a distance of 7.5 kilometers at an average speed of 3 kilometers per hour. And to rub salt into the would, I also took nearly 2 hours to arrive home after work (6.15 PM – 8.00PM).

Waze

You know we are building a flyover to enable the Second Penang Bridge to bypass the industrial zones, and they had to close down the coastal highway (Tun Lim Chong Eu Expressway) section by section to do that. Basically what happened yesterday was, they closed down a crucial part of the highway and created a traffic diversion plan to direct cars to alternative routes. They even used a fancy term for it, the “Tidal Flow” system, whatever the fuck that means.

There are probably a million different reasons as to why the gridlock yesterday happened: which intersection screwed up, short of XXX number of traffic police to direct traffic, yadda yadda… but I think the simplest explanation is: they are trying to direct a traffic of approximately 8000 cars/hour into roads that can only deal with 4000 cars/hour. What else did you expect to happen, if not a total gridlock of cars?

The Chief Minister said he was displeased with this unprecedented crisis, well me and probably tens of thousands of motorists, while we were in our cars, we were downright pissed! Especially as yesterday was supposed to be just the beginning of what was expected to go on for 5-6 months. To make matters worse, the authorities had the nerve to claim this gridlock is due to us not being familiar with the new routes, rather than own up that they fucked up in their traffic diversion plan.

This is extremely frustrating, especially to me. You know, I hate shit traffic. The ONLY reason I escaped from KL to Penang is because I don’t want to deal with shit traffic. And now I am expected to deal with traffic that is even shittier than KL traffic for half a year…

I actually wrote all these yesterday, but they are sort of moot now, you’ll see:

Which brings us to this…

You know I make a new blog post daily. Basically I allocate 30 minutes, maybe 1 hour max for the blog every day. This is perfectly manageable for me, as it still leaves me with 3 to 4 hours to work on other stuff, stuff that brings in extra moolah for me.

The problem is, any time now (I don’t know when), the authorities might close the roads and cause the mother of all traffic jams to occur again on a frequent basis. When that happens, I would have to spend an additional 3 to 4 hours daily to get caught in shit traffic jams instead of doing something productive. I have to arrive home later than usual, and I have to sleep earlier because I have to wake up earlier the next day due to the longer commute time to work.

Some companies in the US (and maybe Europe) practices the the culture of “driving to work is considered part of work, so if you get caught in shit traffic, those are clocked under work”, but that does not apply to us. The hours we burn in bad traffic are our personal hours.

That means I have 3 to 4 hours less to work with, daily. And I do have certain deadlines to meet in earlier mentioned extra moolah ventures. Which leads us to this:

I will still try my best to churn out new blog posts daily, but for the coming 5 to 6 months, it is only going to be on best effort basis. I won’t try to restrict myself with a lighter schedule, like setting a two post a week or something like that, because believe it or not, if I can make it, I still want to blog daily as it is one thing that makes me happy. But on some days, I probably would be too tired and/or busy with the other commitments and would not be able to make it.

I don’t want to write about traffic jams again, so I guess I am mainly writing this to my regular readers so that it will be something that you know the reason of, rather than something that you didn’t see coming. If you noticed that I do not have new blog posts on some days in the coming few months, it is not because I am tired of blogging or lost passion or that sort of shit, it is because crappy traffic jams decided that my time is better spent watching other equally frustrated drivers instead of updating my blog.

I will also probably comment on your blogs lesser than before. Not because I hate you, but because the traffic jams prefer me to spend quality time with them instead of with you guys.

I still love you all much much one…


I wrote these today to replace the striked out parts that I wrote yesterday:

There wasn’t any news announcing the cancellation of this so-called traffic diversion plan, so I expected more or less the same for today. So I woke up at 5.45 AM and left home at 6.30 AM. I did not expect to beat the jam, I just expected to leave an hour earlier so that I can arrive at the office an hour earlier, at a more acceptable time of around 9.00 AM instead.

I guess many had the same plan as me, because I saw many cars already on the road, although it was not in gridlock mode (yet). So I turned on the radio, only to hear the traffic news announcing that the Chief Minister of Penang has instructed all road works to be halted and the road closure to be lifted immediately. True enough, all the barricades were gone, traffic remained smooth, and I arrived at my office just over 7.00AM.

So yesterday we all got stuck in gridlock traffic and arrive at work hours late. Today we all got duped into expecting the same but end up arriving at work hours early. In terms of work productivity, probably balanced out. But in terms of our personal time, it has been the most fucked up two days of my working life.

We are not out of the woods yet. As it is now, the roads have been reopened, but the flyover construction has to be stopped too. The Chief Minister has instructed UEM (the constructors) to submit alternative safety plans for audit before allowing further constructions that pose high safety risk.

I am not hopeful though. Those spans that they are trying to install, they all weigh a few thousand tonnes each, and they are trying to install close to 200 of them. For construction to move again, the roads will probably be closed again. We don’t want to risk a repeat of the construction collapse incident causing civilian casualty like previously happened, do we?

I think the only feasible way is to build a small bypass road adjacent to the coastal highway to increase traffic capacity. But then they have had 2 years to build that road if they wanted to and they didn’t.

I don’t know when they will decide to close the roads again, but I suspect it will happen again. So maybe what I wrote yesterday and striked out, might yet become applicable. That’s why I left them in the post…

 

32 Comments

    • If I knew it would be that bad, I would really have walked! … Maybe not, I probably would stay home and call in sick LOL! 😀

  1. How I hate traffic jams. Currently they are widening the Autobahn in my state towards Hamburg which means out of 70km driving distance on that highway from my hometown around 55km are construction site…you can imagine how the traffic is right now for the next two years there as millions of cars are driving there each day. To make matters worse it seems half of Hamburg is “restaurating” their tunnels and bridges resulting in even more chaos. Today it took us 3!!hours just to get out of the city center

  2. there is one skill i leaned when i was in KL. daydreaming while driving. sometimes i didnt even noticed i was driving, total dreaming, but i did not get into an accident and reached by destination LOL.

  3. Yeah, I read about it in the papers. I wonder how the problem will be solved. Over here, as you already know, it is a permanent feature. One evening, to get from The Curve to Bandar Utama (which is 5 minutes away), it took more than an hour. I was so tired and so angry 🙁

    • Oh yeah, I remember The Curve to 1U. I tried it once on a Saturday afternoon. It was almost as bad as what I faced on Monday!

  4. Yup, this crazy ass jam caused many people to miss their flights also. Tidal flow? I thought that word is used for flash floods…kekeke! 😀 Anyway, if and when this crap happens again, maybe you can blog (in your car) enroute to your office or back (since it’s a standstill kind of jam)! ;D

    • Cannot lah! If I blog during the traffic jam, it would all be road rage stuff and my blog will be a niched angry man blog instead!

  5. phew….thankfully I dun work in Penang.
    Well, traffic in KL is bad especially after downpour in the evening, but anyhow, throughout these years I work in suburb KL, so I dun face much traffic jam….teehehehe….
    OK, i better ‘cabut’ first before someone here starts ‘boiling’ again.

  6. Fuiyoh, strike through so many words, but I still read it.. Aiya, if no daily posts, nevermind, not a big deal, as long as you are comfortable with it, then ok lor.. If no time, or tired, or just don’t feel like posting, mai leave it there first lor.. The longest time I took going back from office to home is 3.5 hours (5.30pm-9pm).. Got 1 time I reached home at 9pm! Jam for nothing at the Citta mall here, then again at LDP there..

  7. I think we in Klang Valley already used to this. Ethan’s school is actually only 15-20 minutes away from home if the traffic is smooth but becoz of the stupid MRT construction, it can take us up to 90 mins to get him these days.

    • Seems like it is almost as bad as mine. My usual journey also 15-20 mins, became 2.5 hours. But, wei… I sacrificed my KL life to run to Penang to escape this, and now they are telling me I will face the same shit. Nnbcjb…

  8. 2 hours…can I said that’s usual in KL, sometimes I’m mad at that also, but now I grab a book and read that, but first come to first of coz don’t get too concentrate on reading, if not, will get horned from the car behind.

    • 2 hours is usual in KL, but 2 hours to crawl 7.5km I don’t think is normal even for KL. But then, I have not driven in peak hours KL with MRT works, so maybe I am wrong.

  9. This is terrible to hear and I feel sorry for you and all other Malaysians who use that route on weekdays to work. Really hope something gets sorted but being Malaysia, well, you never really know.

    Traffic. Getting around. One of the many reasons why I do not want to move back there.

  10. Oh I have been living under a coconut shell so I did not know about this. Oh dear, it must have been terrible to be stuck in a jam like that unexpectedly. They should just close the road on weekends and warn everyone to stock up and not go anywhere on those weekends or long public holidays. See how many weekends it will take before they can finish their work.

    • Actually I think most of us expected jam after we read that notice, but did not expected it to be THAT bad! They have been closing and opening on select days and times for a few months already, but they can’t close and open selectively for what they want to do now. They need to install those few thousand tonnes spans on the flyover, it has to be done continuously. Even if you stop work, those heavy spans will be left hanging and cause safety worries too, so they have to close off the road and complete the works one shot.

  11. yeah the grandmother of all traffic jam that was!! 2.5 hours for just a 7.5km distance, that was amazing!! well, at least in Penang you have LGE to listen and make orders while stomping his foot.. elsewhere, probably no authorities will care, the people have to sort it out..

    • Yeah. I’m actually not the biggest fan of LGE anymore, but credit where credit is due, I think he handled this situation in the best possible way within his usual attitude. He got a lot of bashing for not accepting part of the blame (and I do agree he should at least accept part of the responsibility and apologize because he approved those plans too), but then to be fair, I think anyone would agree to those road closure plans beforehand as it was necessary for the works to proceed. But he was decisive and used his authority immediately when things went balls up. It might not be the best solution (still got others bashing him), but I think being decisive is what a leader should be.

  12. This jam in Penang got us laughing our heads off. It is so normal here and you knew that too. I would be writing traffic jam blog posts every week and bore everyone. I would loose my readers! Anyways, you might consider getting a bicycle to ride on some days like that or to get a healthy exercise. I have two bicycles at home but I could not remember the last time I rode it.
    I can understand the traffic problems in that island and a slightest accident would cause a mile long snail jam with no alternative roads sometimes. It has too many big hills in the middle of the island and the main roads circle around them unlike Singapore which is flat and ample! Good luck baby.

    • I do know of the traffic situation in KL. Why did you think I fucked off from that crazy city to this island? Hahaha! But, no.. I don’t think even KL has 7.5km in 2.5 hours kind of jam. This is much worse… And I guess I can write about it, because it is not common in Penang hahaha! 😀 😀

      I don’t know how to ride a bicycle unfortunately ( 🙁 ), but even if I do, I actually wouldn’t want to ride it here. Although many would disagree, I actually think it is bloody dangerous to ride a bicycle in Penang. Some of the cyclists here, they think they are riding a motorcycle, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any accidents reported yet!

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