Accident waiting to happen at congested Wan Chai station

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2007, 12:00am

In his letter 'Rethink needed on Wan Chai' (November 6), Paul Zimmerman, of Designing Hong Kong Harbour District, paints a bleak picture on the possible future for this district.

It bears an uncanny resemblance to Tin Shui Wai.

There are rows of high-rise buildings with little opportunity for the personal interaction at street level that is essential to a vibrant and interactive community.

The current so-called 'renewal' programme is depriving the community not only of street level facilities.

The MTR station will soon become dangerously overcrowded at rush hour.

The Trade Development Council has gone ahead with an extension of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

It has done so with no regard to the effect this will have on traffic through Wan Chai MTR station.

Anybody who has the misfortune to go through this station at 6pm while a large trade fair is being held, has to battle through long lines at the ticket machines as the addition of retail facilities has negatively impacted on available space and the number of facilities.

Then there is the bottleneck at the head of the escalators with no visible options for any extension.

When passengers reach the platforms they are packed into the narrow spaces available and often have to wait for a number of trains to come through before they can get on.

If an incident of some sort were to occur the result would be chaos.

With the number of residents steadily increasing as the new residential towers fill up and the station already at saturation point, how could a responsible administration agree to the convention and exhibition centre expansion programme without the addition of extra space at Wan Chai station, or the provision of an obstruction-free link with Admiralty station to encourage passengers heading to the exhibition centre to exit there?

Who will take responsibility when the inevitable capacity-related accident occurs in the MTR?

Candy Tam, Wan Chai


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