Busily making Hong Kong a pedestrian's hell

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 February, 1999, 12:00am

Hats off to the Government for not only stripping the few verdant hillsides in Hong Kong of vegetation and spraying that cheerful grey cement over them - it seems it has another brilliant idea in the works: to erect wonderful steel barriers along Hong Kong pavements.

I have noticed that they are appearing faster than the pedestrians who use the space.

Never mind that these barriers leave less than a metre-wide walking space, never mind the mothers who struggle to get their baby carriages through, never mind the elderly who have to nearly circumvent their journey to find an open space to cross the street, and never mind that when these spaces do appear, there are no properly marked crosswalks to ensure safe passage. What seems more important is to waste more funds on this mindless project that is making life difficult for those who don't drive and for those who simply want to take a stroll down a street.

Whose interest is being served here? Perhaps the barriers are there to 'protect' pedestrians from drivers of vehicles who lose control at the wheel and straddle the pavement? If this is the case, it is truly another sad and typical 'Hong Kong story' of the public interest being totally ignored and disregarded.

Drivers should be more responsible and obey the rules. Too often I have witnessed trucks, minibuses and vehicles screeching down a street, despite the heavy volume of pedestrians along the road.

There is only one motivation for this letter. It is to convey my utter disbelief that a government department has decided to erect these barriers that are an obvious impediment for pedestrians.

Perhaps, officials who decided to spend, I'm sure, millions to put these heinous barriers up have not done any site inspections of late.

Maybe they should go to places like Lower Albert Road across from the Foreign Correspondents Club, Broadcast Drive in Kowloon Tong or perhaps Sai Kung to witness how this has affected people's lives.