Pound Lane favoured route for second escalator
Pound Lane has been proposed as the best route for a second Mid-Levels escalator. A study by a consultant to the Central and Western District Council says it is a better route than nearby Shing Wong Lane.
According to the latest study, the 880-metre system, comprising one- or two-way escalators and footbridges, will serve Western District, starting at the top from Conduit Road, joining Robinson Road, Bonham Road and Hospital Road and running the whole length of Pound Lane to join Queen's Road West.
The path will continue to Sheung Wan Municipal Services Building and connect to the footbridge leading to the Macau ferry terminal.
The escalators will connect to new and existing footbridges and upgraded pavements. A detailed design will be drawn up after a government technical feasibility study.
'The idea of a second Mid-Levels escalator link was initiated many years ago,' Democratic Party councillor Cheng Lai-king said. 'Some people think it would help to serve schools and Tung Wah Hospital and provide more access to the future MTR station on Bonham Road.
'But we also understand that some residents are against it for they are worried the escalators will turn the area into another SoHo and end the quiet atmosphere in the neighbourhood.'
She said the council would discuss whether it would go ahead with the recommendation and apply for funding from the Transport Department. Her party would conduct a survey to collect residents' views.
Cheng said transport officials had suggested confining the system to running between Bonham Road and Hollywood Road. A spokeswoman for the Transport Department said it was consulting relevant departments on the proposed Pound Lane route. The feasibility study was expected to be done by the middle of the year.
The Pound Lane alignment was suggested after the original scheme proposed at Ladder Street, a grade-one historic site, was turned down because of public objections.
According to the study, the population in the Central and Western District will decline by 26 per cent to 255,603 by 2016.
But the consultant said the opening of the MTR's West Island Line in 2014 and academic reform, which would bring more students to the University of Hong Kong, would help attract more people to the area.
Central and Western Concern Group member John Batten has written to transport officials opposing the plan. 'I would personally be affected by the building of an escalator along Pound Lane as the current peace and quiet of the area would be seriously compromised,' Batten, who lives in Po Hing Fong, on the corner of Pound Lane, said in the submission.
He said the group was not against the building of the MTR line but argued for a holistic approach to be developed for transport in the area, with particular emphasis on rationalising bus schedules and routes.
The group doubted the need for a new escalator, saying the future MTR station on Bonham Road, about 250 metres from the proposed escalator, should also be giving public escalator access to Queen's Road.
'We believe that there is little public support for another hillside escalator ... The demography of the area has changed substantially in the past four years, with younger, single people moving in. They have chosen to live in the area precisely because it is quiet and a low-rise area,' he said.