Shopping areas in Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui are to be traffic-free in the evenings in a trial scheme to improve the environment, officials announced yesterday. Transport officials say the plan, beginning next month, will help cut traffic accidents involving pedestrians. However, shops will suffer inconvenience as a result of the work which will be carried out in phases over the next three years, they warn. In Mongkok, traffic will be banned from Sai Yeung Choi Street South between Nelson Street and Soy Street from 4pm to midnight, while some nearby streets will have parking spaces cancelled and the pavement widened. The area will be closed to traffic on Sundays and public holidays for a two or three-month trial. A similar scheme will start in Lee Garden Road and Cannon Street, Causeway Bay, in May. 'We have taken into our consideration that at Mongkok there are relatively more small shops which means there will be more goods unloading,' chief transport engineer Cho Ping-chung said. In Tsim Sha Tsui, evening pedestrian malls will take place in thoroughfares west of Nathan Road, such as Lock, Hankow, Ashley, Canton, Peking, Ichang and Haiphong roads. 'We are unable to find any streets suitable for pedestrianisation of any [full-time] form because we have to ensure good access to the hotels and office towers in the area,' Mr Cho said. Traffic diversion and relocation of green minibus stops and taxi stands will accompany the schemes.