Gurney Drive, or Persiaran Gurney, is a seaside promenade in George Town, Penang. It is located along the beachfront that used to be known as North Beach. Gurney Drive is famous throughout Malaysia as the place to go to enjoy the best of Penang food. This seaside promenade was named in honour of Sir Henry Lovell Goldsworthy Gurney, the British High Commissioner who was ambushed and assassinated by guerillas of the Malayan Communist Party on 6 October 1951 near Fraser's Hill in Pahang.
The intention to build a coastal road was already in the plans as early as 1930. The idea was the extend North Beach, as Northam Road (now Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah) was called.
The first 510 yards of Gurney Drive was completed in 1934, and at that time, it simply extended the name "North Beach". This section of Gurney Drive was planted with Casuarina trees in 1962, and is a distintive section of the promenade. The road was known as New Coast Road. It was renamed Gurney Drive in 1952, after the original idea to rename Burmah Road to Gurney Road was not carried through.
Silverton, one of the many upscale condominiums along Gurney Drive (26 September, 2009)
Although Gurney Drive is often thought of as having some of the most modern skyscrapers in Penang, it is also where you will find handsome homes belonging to the well-to-do of yesteryears. One of these is the Loke Mansion. Also at Gurney Drive is the St Joseph's Novitiate.
View of Teluk Ayer Rajah from Gurney Drive (23 January, 2012)
Gurney Paragon at night (28 January, 2012)
Updates on Gurney Drive
24 February, 2016: The Penang State Government unveiled an initiative for the development of Gurney Drive. Known as Gurney Wharf, it will be undertaken by Eastern & Oriental Berhad.
28 September, 2013: The MPPP is putting up two speed tables along Gurney Drive to reduce speeding.
26 August, 2013: Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Bhd unveiled the phase two reclamation project for Seri Tanjung Pinang. The project will give a new, greener look to the 1.7 km Gurney Drive. The Star quotes Penang Works, Utility and Transportation Committee Chairman Lim Hock Seng that E&O will reclaim 53 hectares of land in Gurney Drive for the state government for use as recreational land and not for commercial purposes. Of the 53 hectares to be reclaimed, 20.23 hectares will be government reserve land, 21 hectares will be open spaces and buffer area, 6.87 hectares for expressway and 4.85 hectares for amenities, utilities and infrastructure.
The reclamation will allow the widening of the promenade and more lanes to be added to Gurney Drive from three lanes to nine or ten lanes with parking space. A man-made island will also be created off shore, with a new seafront promenade called Gurney Reach.
27 July, 2013: Parts of Gurney Drive is also made one way, with traffic flowing west to east.
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