Poor planning and design flaws are causing growing safety concerns for those who walk the city’s often overcrowded streets, a Post study has found. Critics say the streets are becoming increasingly unfriendly for those who go by foot owing to the “piecemeal” planning approach taken by government. They point to large signposts blocking narrow pavements, one-way streets clogged with parked coaches on both sides, bus stops and illegally parked bicycles obstructing pedestrians and, in the New Territories, Light Rail stations located at busy traffic junctions. In the hope of creating an inclusive and enjoyable walking environment, they are calling for a comprehensive and integrated approach that will engage interested parties, including all who use the streets, planners and both private and public sectors. Narrow paths, illegal bicycle parking among factors affecting sidewalk access in some Hong Kong districts The Post looked at five locations – Harcourt Road near Central Barracks Amethyst Block, Beach Road at Repulse Bay Beach, San Wan Road in Sheung Shui, Canal Road West in Causeway Bay and Light Rail stations in Yuen Long town centre – and found many unhappy pedestrians. Of particular concern was Tai Tong Road station, which is sandwiched between two busy roads. Planner Clement Ho, associate for transport at Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong, raised fears over pedestrian safety and station overcrowding. “Provision of a safe environment is key for both passengers and passing pedestrians, hence the station platform would need to be reviewed to consider various factors, including passenger and pedestrian demand,” he said. Ho suggested installing platform screen doors, and relocating payment points. However a Transport Department spokeswoman said the Light Rail was integrated with the road network so station positioning took into account factors such as track alignment, space and passenger convenience. Quentin Cheng Hin-kei, spokesman for the Public Transport Research Team, said the government was facing a dilemma as it needed to strike a balance between providing public transport services and a safe and enjoyable walking environment. He said Canal Road West was an example of the dilemma, with three bus stops on a narrow street serving 10 routes, resulting in long queues with passengers and pedestrians fighting for space. “The street is narrow but the bus stops are essential to serve Causeway Bay passengers. The location is an important traffic intersection point leading to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel. But there are no other suitable places to accommodate the stops,” he said. As regards signs blocking pavements, Ho said the government should consider changes. However, the department spokeswoman said the width of footpaths, room for wheelchairs and sufficient headroom were taken into consideration.