Government demands technical data on pedestrianizing Des Voeux Road

Government demands technical data on pedestrianizing Des Voeux Road

The DVRC alliance will commence a fund raising campaign to fund the technical research required to support the proposal to pedestrianize Des Voeux Road Central. The applicants have earlier requested the Town Planning Board to defer the hearing of their application and the request for deferment was approved this morning. In late September Clean Air Network, Designing Hong Kong, Friends of the Earth (HK) and The Conservancy Association submitted a section 12A application to the Town Planning Board, to rezone Des Voeux Road Central (DVRC) (between Morrison Street and Pedder Street) from “road” to “Pedestrian Area and Environmentally Friendly Transport System”.   The public and government departments have submitted their comments since. Based on the responses the Planning Department has advised the Metro Planning Committee of the Town Planning Board that “the applicant fails to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposal and that the proposed rezoning would not cause adverse impacts to the surrounding area.”   A paper published by the Planning Department sets out the comments received from the public and the government departments. In summary:
  1. 1,948 supporting views from the public;
  2. 19 objections from the public.
    1. Lack of full planning, environmental and traffic assessment;
    2. Concern over vehicular access and delivery to buildings;
    3. Relocation of bus stops;
    4. Congestion on nearby roads;
    5. Impact on bus traffic; and
    6. Euro 5 and electric buses are unproven technology.
    7. Commissioner for Transport and the Commissioner of Police comment on the lack of technical assessments on the merits and disadvantages including:
      1. Traffic on nearby roads;
      2. Public transport;
      3. Pick-up/set-down of passengers;
      4. Loading/unloading of goods;
      5. Security deliveries to banks;
      6. Rescue operations;
      7. Public order events; and
      8. Construction of new buildings.
    The applicants explained that they are not surprised by the list of questions. “The goal of the application was to start a public debate. The questions raised are reasonable,” said Ms. Sum Yin Kwong, CEO of Clear Air Network.   Mr. Paul Zimmerman, CEO of Designing Hong Kong, explained that the next step is to find money for detailed traffic and transport research, and the consultation of stakeholders including nearby property owners and the bus operators. “We had secretly hoped that the government would adopt the principles of our proposal and invest in the research. Now we will need to raise close to HK$10million to do the surveys, research and public consultation ourselves properly,” he explained.   “We will start the fund raising soon,” Ms. Kwong added. “There is a brief window of opportunity to reorganize traffic flow and bus routes with opening of the West Island MTR line (2014), the South Island Line (2016), the Central-Wanchai Bypass (2018), the Sha Tin to Central Link (2021) and the North Island Line (2026).”