Traffic rerouted in effort to silence late-night honks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 12:00am

Traffic will be rerouted through Causeway Bay from Sunday in a trial attempt to silence drivers who honk their horns late at night.

The key change is that taxis waiting at the stand outside Starbucks in Paterson Street will no longer be allowed to spill over into Kingston Street. Instead, the line will have to extend straight down Paterson Street.

To make that possible, traffic flow on Paterson Street between Gloucester Road and Kingston Street will be converted from northbound to southbound. Kingston Street will be converted from a one-way to a two-way street.

The honking problem was caused by irritated drivers - blocked by the curving line of taxis - who were prevented from turning right from Kingston Street onto Paterson Street, Transport Department senior engineer David Chan Gin-wing said yesterday.

'The blockage would annoy people and they would blow their horns, which may not always be too loud, but at 11pm or midnight or even 1am, it is still too noisy for residents,' he said.

Chief engineer Andy Yau Pak-hang added that the department had received about 80 complaints in the first few months of this year, so they decided to search for a solution.

'We have conducted an on-site inspection together with representatives of the Wan Chai District Office, the police, district councillors and representatives of the nearby buildings and taxi associations,' Mr Yau said.

'After discussions, we believe that the traffic rerouting will effectively resolve the noise problems caused by the taxi queue.'

Taxis will now be prevented from entering the queue for the Paterson Street taxi stand from Kingston Street and will have to go around the block to access it from Gloucester Road.

Also, vehicles longer than seven metres will no longer be permitted to turn left from Gloucester Road into Kingston Street or from the rerouted section of Paterson Street to Kingston Street. Left turns from Cleveland Street to Kingston Street will still be banned for long vehicles.The cross-harbour taxi stand will remain in Paterson Street but will move to the eastern kerb in accordance with the street's change in direction.

Finally, the bus stop for routes 2 and A11 will be relocated from Kingston Street to Gloucester Road near Victoria Park Mansion.

The six-month trial begins this Sunday morning and, if the new measures work, the changes will become permanent.

Mr Yau said police and Transport Department staff would be deployed to the area on Sunday to ensure smooth implementation of the change. 'We will distribute leaflets to motorists in the district a few days before implementation of the scheme to explain the details,' he said.