• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 6:41am
NewsHong Kong
ENVIRONMENT

Transform Des Voeux Road into pedestrian-tram green zone, planners urge

Proposal to clear the air by diverting traffic from Des Voeux Road Central

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 4:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 4:27pm

Busy Des Voeux Road Central in the heart of Hong Kong's business district should be transformed into a bus-free zone so that pedestrians and office workers can breathe cleaner air, the Institute of Planners has suggested to the government.

The vision was laid out in a joint study by the institute, City University, the Civic Exchange think tank and the MVA Hong Kong transport and planning consultancy firm.

Under their plan, the 1.5-kilometre section of Des Voeux Road Central, stretching from Pedder Street to Morrison Street, would be closed to all vehicles except necessary traffic such as banks' security vans, delivery vans and emergency vehicles.

Bus routes would be diverted to Connaught Road and nearby streets so that the tram would become the only form of public transport allowed along Des Voeux Road Central.

Other traffic is expected to be absorbed by the future Central-Wan Chai bypass and the MTR's Sha Tin-Central Link, scheduled for completion in 2017 and 2020, respectively.

The scheme is aimed at reducing air pollution in the area by diverting vehicular traffic to lanes with better ventilation.

"Our study has shown that diesel buses and goods vehicles are the main and direct contributors to roadside air pollution in Central," City University's Dr Ning Zhi said. "The high-rise buildings along Des Voeux Road Central … trap pollutants. Air quality on Connaught Road Central is better despite more vehicular traffic because pollutants are dispersed more easily."

The groups last month met senior government officials including Transport and Housing Secretary Anthony Cheung Bing-leung and Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing to sell the idea. They hope the government will adopt the proposal and fully implement it by 2020.

Ted Hui Chi-fung, the constituency's district councillor and vice-chairman of its traffic and transport committee, found the proposal an innovative idea to improve air quality in Central.

But he was worried that diverting traffic to Connaught Road Central would make it more congested. "I am open to the proposal … I would suggest the district council commissions a scientific study so that we have data to assess its feasibility."

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

35

This article is now closed to comments

village2206
They did it in Melbourne and it worked!! But Melbourne is in Australia so it worked!! We have faceless bureaucrats with the imagination of a dead pigeon!
CatInAFlap
Pure fantasy masquerading as news. Pathetic.
o2studio
If you have ever been along Des Voeux Road. There 193 banks, numerous shops needing deliveries! Love the idea in theory. Would kill the road.
skywalker
TST East is a good example in Hong Kong. Works fine and it is actually one of the nicest areas in Hong Kong. Could actually be more developped than it is now.
impala
TST East has pedestrian only areas, that is true. The public space there is reasonably designed. To call it one of the nicest areas in Hong Kong goes much too far though.

There is a fair share of outright seedy establishments there, and most shops and restaurants there are focusing mainly on the (East Rail Line) 'tourist' crowd: handbags, infant formula and cheap dim sum.

On hotel-lined Mody Road, things are better shop/restaurant wise, but despite being well suited for it, that street is not a pedestrian-only zone, and what should be the best part of TST East for pedestrians, the harbour-front walkway is cut-off from everything else by a 6-lane busy road, which can only be crossed by using one of those typical Hong Kong elevated pedestrian walkways.
r6b
Brisbane, Sydney, Leeds, Birmingham and even Chinese cities like Guangzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai all have pedestrianized streets.
HK could follow their example for street deliveries
skywalker
"...except necessary traffic such as banks' security vans, delivery vans and emergency vehicles."
--
"Our study has shown that diesel buses and goods vehicles are the main and direct contributors to roadside air pollution in Central"
How do these two statements work togeter?
Goods vehicles are the greatest polluters and they should be allowed in a pedestrain zone? These Hing Kong van drivers are not only big polluters, but also the biggest safety thread to pedestrians.
dynamco
the sad things is
even if this went ahead & they managed to get the consultant report on the consultant report to recommend it (like extra TV licences) the DAB / the Liberals would find some reason from one of their puppet master party sponsors to shoot it down
Therein lies our recurring problem in HKG Corrupt political party decisions mastered by their funders
Meanwhile the air would still be filthy from the ocean going vessels which are our major polluters by far & the fact the previous developer friendly administrations allowed curtain wall urban canyon overbuilding that traps all the airborne high sulfur ship emissions anyway
Yet Edward Yau still holds a job in the current administration...
apdesk
Great idea. In the process get rid of some of the empty 20 year old double decker polluters as well
julien.mary@gmail.com
That should be the case from Central to CWB, at modernizing the tramway which is as fast as a donkey right now. So that Citizen could finally breath and stop to feel pedestrian traffic jams.

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or