Congestion problems do not justify closure

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 12:00am

I was quite shocked by the letter from Nick Pearson headlined 'Close racecourse' (South China Morning Post, March 6).

Mr Pearson suggested that closing the Happy Valley track and handing it over to property developers was a solution to congestion caused by traffic diversions on racing days.

I also think that blaming traffic jams all the way to the Lion Rock Tunnel on this single diversion is a bit over-dramatic.

I assume Mr Pearson is upset because of delays to and from home via the Aberdeen Tunnel. Does he really believe that replacing the racecourse with more shopping malls and high-rise buildings will relieve the congestion?

I live reasonably near the racecourse and agree it is annoying, though I must add that the congestion caused is not as bad as Mr Pearson claims on the few racing days in question. On the other hand, having an extensive area with no high-rises where you can actually see the sky and some grass is a welcome relief.

When it is not being used for racing, the racecourse provides a large grass playing field for soccer, rugby and other sports. Also families can take leisurely walks there.

And the Happy Valley course is one of the few ever-diminishing number of historical sites left on Hong Kong Island.

For a bit of undeveloped land, some grass fields and some breathing space, I am willing to put up with a few hours of traffic diversions on racing nights.


Jardine's Lookout