Why Mong Kok walking street is the right idea in the wrong place
After a feasibility test lasting a long 18 years, the Mong Kok pedestrian zone may be history. At first, the intention was to encourage street performances, as seen in cities overseas, and to boost tourism, shopping and other commercial activity in the crowded district. But this was restricted to just weekends and public holidays in 2013, after locals and businesses complained about the decibel levels and safety.
Following as many as 1,200 complaints last year over the noise levels, the Yau Tsim Mong District Council voted overwhelmingly last month to scrap the car-free zone, though no time frame was provided. A motion calling on the government to seek alternative venues for a pedestrian zone to promote arts and culture was also passed.
I believe the failure of the Mong Kok pedestrian zone was due to its infeasibility in the longer term, simply because of the nature of the venue, amid narrow streets lined with homes and shops, compared to those overseas.
Besides, the lack of monitoring by the government has a part to play. Andy Yu Tak-po of the Civic Party has suggested a temporary suspension of the scheme until the government can come up with a licensing plan for performers. I think it should also think about a detailed monitoring system to avoid sound pollution, if another street performance zone is chosen to replace the one in Mong Kok.
Randy Lee, Ma On Shan