My Take

Here’s a solution to parking woes: don’t drive

Lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming has rounded on the government for tendering a public car park in Central for office redevelopment, saying its loss will worsen the area’s traffic woes. But it’s the opposite that’s true

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 April, 2017, 12:41am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 April, 2017, 12:41am

Does Liberal Party lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming drive himself or is he chauffeured to meetings at the Legislative Council?

Either way, I suggest he tries travelling on public transport like the rest of us if he is so afraid of worsening traffic congestion in the Central business district from Monday. After all, that will be one fewer car on the road.

In fact, I think all our lawmakers should make a point of not travelling in private cars when going to Legco to attend to the people’s business. They should set an example.

Hong Kong motorists ‘face traffic disaster’ with closure of car park in main business district

Yick - like other I-have-the-right-to pollute-the-air car groups such as the Land Transportation Alliance and Public Transport Research Team - is upset that the government is tendering the five-storey public car park in Murray Road for office redevelopment, with the loss of 388 spaces for private cars and 55 for motorcycles from May 1.

The legislator, who represents the transport functional constituency, has rounded on the government for failing to compensate the loss of the parking spaces, which would surely worsen traffic in Central, or so he claims.

He and the other car-loving critics have it all wrong. You get more cars and traffic when you build more roads and offer more parking spaces. When you restrict road access and get rid of car parks, more cars will disappear or at least fewer will show up.

Would-be drivers will learn that it’s just not worth the trouble to drive, especially not when you have some of the world’s most efficient and cleanest public transport systems.

How a smart city vision for Hong Kong can improve its transport system

Transport officials claim there are enough parking spaces in the area to go around, even without the Murray car park. The Development Bureau, however, admitted there could be “a partial shortfall during peak hours”.

Yick and co have seized on that as evidence of government negligence. In fact, the government should do the opposite. Eliminate as many public parking spaces in Central as possible, and get the police to enforce the hell out of parking violations with a zero-tolerance policy.

After a while, you will reduce traffic in the business district to only the most essential.

“Where can drivers park their vehicles?” the lawmaker thundered. “It’s inevitable that they will drive around the area to compete for parking spaces and cause more congestion.”

Here’s an idea: how about not drive?