Happy Valley MTR station will bring even more congestion

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2007, 12:00am

Paul Zimmerman ('We must expand rail network to relieve traffic congestion', December 19) describes Happy Valley as a cul-de-sac (a road that comes to a dead end).

He should know better as he has been there, I saw him handing out district council election leaflets last month on Sing Woo Road.

Much of what Mr Zimmerman says and does is good, but his cause is not helped by his blind belief railways are good for all places in Hong Kong, nor by the breathless tone of his jumbled argument which is his standard one-size-fits-all solution.

I have lived in Happy Valley for a long time and admit that I like it as it is.

It is one of the few residential areas left that has a community feel to it, where all is within short walking distance, where residents can - and do - stroll around their immediate environs greeting their neighbours while doing their shopping or going for dinner.

The racecourse, with its playing fields and walking paths, is a valuable recreation spot also used for community events and easily reached by existing public transport and on foot. An MTR station will bring more people, who will demand more shops, more 'facilities' and bring a different sort of congestion. The Planning Department is indeed on the right track with the 'downzoning' mentioned by Mr Zimmerman.

The racecourse, of course, is often cited as the cause of the traffic jams that cause all the inconvenience.

Wan Chai district councillor Stephen Ng Kam-chun says on some days congestion is becoming intolerable: 'A trip between Happy Valley and Causeway Bay could take more than 30 minutes in those busy hours' ('Nod for rail line, but stops up in air', December 19). Only, Mr Ng, for those foolish enough to use their cars. The trip can be accomplished on foot in 10 or 15 minutes and this ease of access is another charm of Happy Valley.

Mr Zimmerman, there are parts of Hong Kong well worth preserving and where a lot can be achieved with little or no effort. Save your energy for the harbour - you will need it.

Gordon Robinson, Happy Valley