Cut estate parking, group urges
Ng Kang-chung and Joyce Ng
A green group has proposed providing fewer parking spaces on new public housing estates after its research found many were left idle - in one case, nine out of 10.
Green Sense looked at car parks on seven public estates where The Link Management, which manages car parks on public estates, recently applied to the Town Planning Board for permission to rent unused spaces to non-tenants.
On Hing Wah Estate in Chai Wan, 89 per cent of the 200 monthly car spaces had not been taken. On Fu Shin Estate in Tai Po, one floor of the five-storey car park was vacant.
Green Sense proposed reducing the number of parking spaces on new estates by half the amount required under planning guidelines.
At present, the number of spaces provided by a public estate is decided by looking at a number of factors, but in general, one space is provided for every 26 families if there is no rail station nearby. If there is a station within 500 metres of an estate, there should be one car space for every 31 families.
'Many of those living on public estates are of lower incomes,' Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong said. 'They do not own cars. And many public estates are located near MTR stations or are well served by public transport. There is no need to provide so many parking spaces for tenants.'
Tam said he agreed it was a good way to avoid wasting resources.
'But a long-term solution should be reviewing the planning guidelines,' he said, adding there would still be plenty of spaces even if the number was cut by half.
The Planning Department is reviewing the guidelines covering car park provisions for private and public residential buildings. An excessive number of spaces, often built directly under the residential towers, has been blamed as one of the reasons for tall and bulky buildings in private developments.
According to The Link's interim report, in the six months to the end of September, car park utilisation was 72.4 per cent, compared to 70.3 per cent at the same time a year ago. Gross rental receipts from car parks were HK$497 million.