Pedestrianising areas of Sai Kung can ease congestion

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 4:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 9:05pm

Sai Kung is bogged down with privately owned vehicles at weekends, and the government appears to be going ahead with its plans to widen roads in the town, adding even more vehicles to the already chaotic mix.

It’s difficult enough trying to get in and out of Sai Kung at weekends as it is now. Imagine what it could be like in the near future, with many more cars and not enough car parks.

How can the government reduce the huge volume of cars at weekends?

I don’t know if there is a definitive answer, but I believe pedestrianisation would help considerably with the current congestion problems. It’s a model that has been extremely effective at eliminating congestion in many towns and cities around the world.

If some roads in Sai Kung were designated “no access” to privately owned vehicles, and could only be used by public transport, emergency and delivery vehicles, then the town would become more accessible and safer, and more in harmony with the environment.

Pedestrianisation would encourage drivers to leave their cars at home and use public transport instead, so there would have to be more public transport vehicles to meet the needs of visitors and residents.

There are roads in Sai Kung where private vehicles have no need to be. If they were banned from these roads, or the roads were pedestrianised, visitors and residents could derive greater enjoyment from the town. They could go about their business without having to walk on the road because an illegally parked car has taken up most of the pavement.

This illegal parking also blocks taxi ranks and drivers do this with impunity. People have to flag down taxis on the road, because the ranks are unusable and police and traffic wardens do nothing. The drivers breaking the law know they will not receive a parking ticket.

Pedestrianising areas would create space with immediate effect, and would provide better access for public transport, essential for the movement of people in and out of Sai Kung. Traffic wardens could be deployed in numbers to help integrate these changes. A “park-and-ride” system could also be introduced. This would create more jobs and additional revenue for the government.

These changes would not require years to implement. The first stages could be introduced swiftly, if the relevant government departments were prepared to take this not so giant leap.

Andrew Maxwell, Sai Kung