Friday, August 21, 2015

stop it

I found something to jolt me out of my happiness bubble: a ludicrous Hong Kong consultancy report and planning application to remove the tram service from Admiralty to Central.

(source: Hong Kong Hustle)

While one of my degrees is in planning, you don't have to be a planner to pick out the faults in the breathtaking tunnel vision displayed by the study. To sum it up, the cure to the congestion that is plaguing Central is to remove the tram lane since it takes up 30% of the roadway.

It makes sense. If you removed the tram, it would clear up an extra lane in Central for private cars to circle endlessly while waiting for VIP businessmen to emerge from buildings, as one lane is not enough to accommodate all of the high flyers who work in the area. In Admiralty, the extra lane could be converted to another waiting area for the logjam of vehicles trying to enter the Hung Hom tunnel. Yes, the proposal to clear away the tram would be very beneficial to the congestion problem created by private cars.

Aside from the historical value, trams are part of the public transportation network that connects from micro scale to macro scale with buses, taxis and MTR connecting at larger scale and trams, mini buses and trams at a more local level. This system is affordable and equitable for all people. It is alarming that a consultancy group has failed to understand the positive aspects of transportation planning that includes affordable tram service for those who cannot walk intermediate distances such as senior citizens who are frequent tram users. Trams provide service by connecting distances that may not be walkable for some people.

Addressing the congestion issue, while tram lines do occupy 30% of roadways in areas that are reserved for tram usage, I would suggest sending this planning consultancy (who obviously have nothing to gain from their findings, which is why they made an immediate planning application on behalf of nobody to remove the trams without undergoing previous public consultation) back to conduct a field study to analyze the traffic impact when lanes are blocked by private cars waiting illegally as well as circling slowly. There is no tram involved in the traffic backup through the Hung Hom tunnel all the way to Aberdeen.

It would be a better solution to introduce congestion fees for private cars entering Admiralty through Central, to curb the amount of private car users who prefer to drive into Central rather than use public transportation.

The deadline to comment on the tram land removal proposal is 4 September. It only takes a few minutes to register your comment.
http://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/en/plan_application/Y_H4_10.html

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