Eyes on the road: Lantau traffic under scrutiny

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 March, 2016, 5:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 March, 2016, 5:38pm

I refer to the letters from Jacqueline Green (“More private vehicles should not be allowed on South Lantau Road”, February 24) and Eddie Wong Ting-yiu (“Lantau road decision damaging”, March 5).

I would like to clarify a few issues about the Transport Department’s “Driving on Lantau Island Scheme”. Last year, the department proposed permitting 20 more coaches each day and 50 private cars on weekdays for leisure and recreational purposes to enter south Lantau to promote tourism and the local economy in the area. This followed careful consideration of the condition and traffic on the roads in south Lantau and the parking facilities in the area. It is not correct to say no public consultation was conducted. The department consulted the Traffic and Transport Committee of Islands District Council, Lantau’s four rural committees, public transport operators in south Lantau, the tourism sector and 36 green groups and the traffic and transport subcommittee of the Lantau Development Advisory Committee in mid-2015.

The concerns raised were mainly about road conditions, insufficient parking spaces and potential safety risks from motorists unfamiliar with south Lantau’s roads.

The department considered that although some road sections are relatively steep, narrow and winding, south Lantau’s roads are safe for driving. Additional traffic signs and road markings have been provided at appropriate locations. Speed enforcement cameras have also been installed on some road sections to deter speeding.

The department conducts traffic surveys regularly on roads in the territory, and the methodology and results are published in the Annual Traffic Census available on our website. These surveys showed that traffic flows on roads in south Lantau were light and could accommodate more traffic. The average daily traffic on South Lantau Road was about 3,200 vehicles. The road has a design capacity of 8,000 per day.

Other department surveys showed there were adequate parking spaces for the additional vehicles under the proposals, provided they do not gather at the same place at the same time.

Having considered the stakeholders’ concerns during the consultation, the department modified the implementation plan and is implementing the proposals in phases. The first phase, involving allowing 10 more coaches and 25 private cars access to south Lantau, has been implemented and we are closely monitoring its impact.

The department will continue with the planned road bend widening works and plans to provide more parking spaces in south Lantau.

Irene Ho, assistant commissioner for transport (New Territories)