Penang LRT project to be revived?

TRANSIT took note of this article in the Business Times which suggests that the Penang LRT project will be revived soon.

The proposal for a Penang Monorail or LRT has been mentioned again and again, with different ideas about how a monorail / LRT network could be designed.

TRANSIT of course have our own ideas about LRT in Penang. Whatever does happen, we are pleased that there will be additional and vital investment into the state.

Penang LRT back on track? (Business Times)
By Marina Emmanuel
Published: 2011/02/02

The federal government may revive a project to build a light rapid transit (LRT) system for Penang, as part of efforts to reduce traffic congestion nationwide.

Business Times has learnt that the scheme is likely to be an expansion of the government’s efforts to improve public transport via projects such as Kuala Lumpur’s first mass rapid transit system (MRT) and the proposed light rail service in the Iskandar Development Region in Johor.

However, there is no known time-frame attached to this project.

“The Land and Public Transport Authority is likely to spearhead Penang’s proposed LRT system,” sources said.

[TRANSIT: That’s probably news to them – first, that they are the Land and Public Transport Authority (as opposed to Land Public Transport Commission – second, that they can handle that project with the MRT, bus transformation etc they are already doing!]

If the project in Penang takes off after repeated attempts previously, there is expected to be an all-round sigh of relief, in the face of traffic jams which have been worsening for close to two decades.

Talk of a LRT system for Penang is not new, dating back to more than 10 years ago when the then state government had talked about the project, along with other proposals such as the Penang Outer Ring Road, a monorail system and a third connection for Penang island and Seberang Prai.

Although the projects have yet to take off, other methods to alleviate traffic congestion, such as the Jelutong Expressway (now renamed the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway) and the introduction of several one-way traffic systems in selected areas on Penang island and the mainland, have offered little respite to motorists and commuters.

[TRANSIT: That is why it is time to make tough choices. Before you invest in mass transit, regular public transport has to be reliable, organized and frequent!]

The Penang Monorail was a proposed monorail line to be constructed under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) and Northern Corridor Economic Region.

The 37km monorail line, estimated to cost RM1.6 billion, was expected to be located on Penang island, with two lines to be built and possible extensions to Province Wellesley in the future.

[TRANSIT: We believe that the best solution is to reduce the number of vehicles crossing the Penang Bridge first, then work on mass transit on the island. The best way to do that is to use the existing road infrastructure plus bus lanes.]

After the mid-term review of the 9MP, however, the project has been postponed indefinitely.

“The proposed LRT for Penang,” a source said, “is yet another federal government initiative to invest in Penang, following the current upgrade of the Penang International Airport and the second Penang Bridge.”


TRANSIT Says:

The clear & most important transport corridor in Penang is the combination of the Jelutong Expressway (now Dr. Lim Chong Eu Expressway), Penang Bridge, and Bayan Lepas expressway.

Whatever is built in Penang will have to accommodate public transport demand along that combined corridor as well as east-west demand and orbital travel that bypasses old Georgetown, as well as travel in Seberang Prai to Butterworth Sentral.

Of course, this is all at the earliest stages – it would be far better to start looking at public transport reformation and revamping of existing infrastructure (and making the Bridge Express Shuttle Transit service successful) before looking at LRT.

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