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If you are new or are going to relocate here, you should find out about the traffic-jam-prone spots on Penang Island. These are the roads that will easily get congested. Avoid them during rush hour - 6:30 am to 8:30 am in the morning, 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm in the evening. Traffic jams are worst on Friday evening, and roads leading to the Penang Bridge are the most badly affected, as commuters leave the island for the weekend.
Within George Town, avoid going anywhere near large schools built in front of narrow major roads. The worst jams occur around these schools, caused by school buses and cars parked haphazardly while waiting for students. Schools to note include Penang Chinese Girls' High School and Convent Light Street.
Spots Prone to Traffic Jams on Penang Island
Prangin Road, at intersection with Beach Street, Bridge Street and Prangin Road Ghaut
The traffic lights between Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong and Beach Street causes huge jams that often back up until Penang Road, sometimes even wrapping on to Magazine Road, to cause a total standstill.
In late 2013, the authorities decided to remove the traffic lights at the Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong/Beach Street junction. This has significantly improved traffic flow on Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong and Prangin Road Ghaut.
In December 2012, traffic on Bridge Street (across Anson Bridge) between Magazine Road and Prangin Road was reversed to flow north instead of south; Carnarvon Street between Magazine Road and Prangin Road was turned into a two-way street enabling traffic from Magazine Road to enter Prangin Road; traffic lights at the Prangin Road/Beach Street intersection was turned off to allow continuous traffic flow.
Despite the removal of the Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong/Beach Street traffic lights, the congestion is still as worse as before, or even worse, at the Magazine Road Ghaut junction with Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway. Commuters may take just 15 minutes to travel all the way from Batu Maung to reach that junction, only to remain in standstill at that junction for another 15 minutes or more.
Scotland Road, in front of Union High School
The cause of this traffic jam is the traffic lights at the Scotland Road - York Road - Jalan Batu Gantung intersection. The purpose of the traffic light is to allow school buses to enter York Road from the Scotland Road.
Possible solution: Remove the traffic light. Add divider across Scotland Road. Install an overhead pedestrian bridge and create bus parking bays in front the Penang Turf Club for dropping and fetching students. Forbid waiting at parking bays.
Flyover, in front of Penang State Mosque, from Scotland Road to Green Lane
Cause: Traffic merging at a bottleneck at the end of the Green Lane-Scotland Road Flyover.
Gottlieb Road, in front of Penang Chinese Girls' High School
Cause: School buses and cars waiting in front of school to pick up students.
Action Taken: Gottlieb Road was widened in June 2012. Since then, traffic flow has improved.
Farquhar Street, in front of Convent Light Street
Cause: School buses and cars waiting in front of Convent Light Street to pick up students causes congestion along Farquhar Street.
Jalan Bukit Gambir, in front of USM Back Gate
Cause: Traffic lights at in front of USM Back Gate not timed according to traffic volume, causing queues along Jalan Bukit Gambir to back up until the junction with Jalan Pekaka.
Possible solution: Adjust the timing on the traffic lights, or build a flyover on Jalan Bukit Gambir over the intersection.
Lim Chong Eu Expressway, in front of Batu Uban (improved)
This used to be the worst jam spot on Penang Island, particularly on Friday evenings, when outstation people are rushing out of their office to go home. The cause was the Batu Uban pedestrian bridge which forced the six-lane expressway to four lanes.
In October 2012, the authorities dismantled the old pedestrian bridge and put up a new one to allow widening of the expressway. This has significantly improved traffic flow although there is still congestion during rush hours.
Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, at Batu Uban traffic lights
Cause: Traffic lights at Sungai Dua/Batu Uban intersection interrupting traffic flow on Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah.
Possible solution: Built a flyover on Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah over the intersection.
Jalan Tun Dr awang, in front of Bukit Jambul Complex
Cause: High volume of traffic along Jalan Tun Dr Awang as well as Jalan Bukit Gambir, along with too many stops.
Possible solution: Replace pedestrian crossing along Jalan Tun Dr Awang with a pedestrian bridge.
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