A proposal to remove trams from Central to Admiralty was rejected at a meeting of the Town Planning Board today. The application to do away with tram road usage in the Central District Outline Zoning Plan was presented to the board this morning. Planners questioned whether the proposal, submitted by retired planner Sit Kwok-keung, had enough evidence to support its claims. This afternoon, the board announced that it had decided to reject the proposal. “Your proposal is only half a page long. Have you done any assessment to back up your suggestion [of cancelling trams]? Any more objective and scientific assessment, and not just by impression?”asked board member and professor of architecture Ho Puay-peng. In reply, Sit answered: “No.” The proposal would have amended the Approved Central District Outline Zoning Plan and eliminate mentioning ‘tram’ in its contents. It sought to remove trams from Des Voeux Road Central by Jubilee Street all the way to Queensway by Arsenal Street in Admiralty. Upon its announcement in August, the plan triggered public outrage. READ MORE: You must be off your trolley: Proposal to derail Hong Kong’s iconic trams to ease traffic in Central meets online opposition Senior town planner Jerry Austin said 22,385 public submissions were received to comment on the proposal, of which 98 per cent were against the proposal. “Trams are an integral part of the transport network,” said Austin. “There is no proof that taking away trams would improve traffic congestion issues ... the main cause of traffic congestion is not the trams.” He said trams remained an important part of policy planning as they offer some 180,000 rides daily. He described the tram system as environmentally-friendly, affordable and convenient. Austin added that the trams could not be replaced by the MTR, and taking away this mode of transport would mean passengers would take other road transportation, thus compounding ongoing traffic congestion issues. The government opposed Sit’s proposal, the senior town planner said, and it had no plans to retire trams from Central district. The district council also expressed its “strong disapproval” of the proposal. Watch: A journey through history: the ups and downs of Hong Kong's beloved tram In defence of his plan, Sit said: “Trams only take up 1.44 per cent of all transportation taken on Hong Kong Island. He said using the road space taken by trams could allow more car parks to be built along Des Voeux Road to accommodate the cars that clog streets. Sit said car park construction was not possible at present because the roads were “not wide enough to install entrance and exits” for the car parks. He also called trams a “historical problem” that existed before the Outline Zoning Plan was created, and said the time had come for them to be reviewed. Board chairman Ling Kar-kan interrupted Sit multiple times during the meeting, saying the former town planner repeatedly tried to rebut Austin’s comments rather than focusing on explaining his own proposal. The board met behind closed doors after its meeting this morning and reached its decision in the afternoon.