Road to Nowhere


Unlike other self-respecting but ambitious cities, Penang has as yet no transport masterplan to speak of, but plans for ad hoc infrastructure mega-projects abound. What this means for the city is not hard to predict. If traffic jams are the major criterion for progress, then the future looks bright.

I avoid leaving the house on weekends and going to town (which I loosely use to describe Pulau Tikus and George Town) simply because traffic congestion is a bloody nuisance. Currently, there are more private vehicles in Penang than there are people so this situation is hardly surprising, but no less infuriating.

The issue is magnified many times over during public holidays, when the island experiences a 30% increase in vehicles; cars and bikes swarm over the island, crossing via the Penang Bridge or by ferry. It will be interesting to observe traffic trends when construction of the second link is completed in 2013, although it’s hard to be optimistic.

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