West Kowloon Cultural District

Train terminal, Kowloon cultural hub expected to bring traffic nightmare

Action urged as train terminal and cultural hub expected to make traffic unbearable

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 3:46am

Fears are mounting that traffic congestion in West Kowloon will be unbearable when two major projects are finished.

The amount of traffic has already exploded.

Transport Department figures for last year show that several roads near the construction sites of the West Kowloon Cultural District and high-speed railway terminus have seen a big increase in traffic.

But the Transport Department says works completed or planned will ensure the road network surrounding the two projects can cope with the flow.

The annual average daily traffic flow on the section of Austin Road West from Lin Cheung Road to Canton Road rose 41.7 per cent to 14,300 vehicles a day last year.

The number was 42,510 for the section of Jordan Road from Canton Road to Shanghai Street, up 10.5 per cent, and 33,210 for nearby Gascoigne Road from Nathan Road to Pak Hoi Street, up 26 per cent.

Other sections of the three roads, away from the two projects, have recorded only slight increases or decreases.

Yau Tsim Mong District Council members Hau Wing-cheong and Chan Wai-keung fear the congestion will be even worse once the two projects are completed because more people will be visiting West Kowloon.

''The government needs to do something to ease the congestion as it is already quite bad now,'' Hau said.

Chan said the area around the two projects was always congested and he feared it would get worse with more tourists.

The former president of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Leung Kong- yui, said more footbridges could be built to reduce pedestrian flow, cutting the number of traffic lights. Lights could be adjusted so cars did not have to wait too long at the junctions.

The Transport Department said it had conducted a study in 2008 to look into traffic needs around the two big projects.

One change - modifying bus stops at the Kowloon exit of the Western Harbour Crossing giving cars direct access to the elevated carriageway of Jordan Road - was completed last year.

Other improvements are planned or being built for completion from 2015, the year the terminus and part of the arts hub are expected to be completed.

They include an underpass connecting Austin Road West and Lin Cheung Road, an elevated road link from Nga Cheung Road to the Western Harbour Crossing, a direct road link from Nga Cheung Road to the West Kowloon Highway through Hoi Po Road, and widening sections of Austin Road West, Jordon Road and Lin Cheung Road.

''Upon completion of these road improvement works the existing road network will be able to service the traffic flow," a department spokeswoman said.