Lantau car plan a traffic crisis waiting to happen

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 August, 2015, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 August, 2015, 4:50pm

I thank Irene Ho of the Transport Department for her letter ("Small increase in car numbers won't destroy Lantau idyll", August 18), but I take exception to her misleading statements regarding current traffic conditions and local residents' (like me) threatened lifestyles.

She claims the government fosters a policy promoting public transport, but the proposed relaxation of access permits for use in south Lantau concerns only private vehicles - cars and coaches. She further claims there will not be an adverse effect on the environment but where does she propose all these additional vehicles park? At our major tourist destinations, where they will idle away their engines?

Is Ms Ho aware that Mui Wo is destined to have 2,000 more residents within the next few years and additional new developments within south Lantau will swell this number significantly? If the department blithely continues to issue road permits to all bona fide car owners, then our already heavily compromised road network will be tipped into crisis point - and no amount of "improvement" works to widen our twisting, turning terrain will adequately ensure driving safety.

Ms Ho reiterates the mantra that speed control measures "should not normally be installed on roads forming part of a public transport route".

Does the department honestly consider that if it repeats this excuse for inaction enough times that people will actually believe it? Speed bumps, rumble strips or sleeping policemen, call them what you will, are used throughout other, more enlightened places - America, Australia, Europe and England - in urban and rural areas.

The department should deliberate very carefully before it caves in to purely commercial interests in south Lantau's development and risks destroying a very precious jewel in Hong Kong's crown.

Jacqueline Green, Lantau