KCR project will help alleviate congestion
I refer to the letter headlined 'Pointless and unpleasant construction site' (Sunday Morning Post, April 7), regarding the KCR extension from hunghom to Tsim Sha Tsui.
The extension project, together with the Ma On Shan Rail, is one of the priority railway projects recommended under the 1994 Railway Development Strategy. It will not only facilitate travelling between the northeast New Territories and urban areas, but also provide a second point of interchange between the MTR and KCR East Rail to alleviate congestion at the Kowloon Tong station.
Once the extension is completed, passengers will be able to interchange between the KCR East Rail and MTR at Tsim Sha Tsui station, thus alleviating the congestion at the Kowloon Tong interchange and the MTR Nathan Road corridor. This alternate point of interchange is also essential in anticipation of the additional passengers from Ma On Shan Rail. It is expected that, after the Tsim Sha Tsui extension begins operations in 2004, the estimated patronage of the Tsim Sha Tsui interchange will be 18,000 passengers per hour during the morning peak hours. This will increase to 22,600 passengers in 2006.
A comprehensive subway network will be provided in the Tsim Sha Tsui area to facilitate convenient access to both the new KCR East Tsim Sha Tsui and the MTR Tsim Sha Tsui stations. This pedestrian subway network will also link up east and central Tsim Sha Tsui, which will reduce the demand for road traffic between the two areas. In the long run, this will have a positive impact on both the traffic situation and the environment.
Regarding the public parks that are at present occupied by the construction sites, such as the Middle Road children's playground and the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, they will be reinstated upon completion of the construction works.
We will continue to closely monitor the construction works so as to minimise the impact to the public and ensure a timely completion in August 2004.
for Secretary for Transport