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Old January 14th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #161
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合和實業(0054)發表合和二期交通報告,遭議員質疑欠獨立性
(經濟通)1月14日 星期三 09:51

合和實業(00054)昨發表「合和二期交通影響評估報告摘要」,將斥資4億元進行道路改善工程,料於2016年合和二期完工時,可紓緩附近一帶的交通擠塞問題。

公民黨 陳淑莊議員質疑合和低估交通的影響,批評報告由發展商委託顧問公司撰寫,欠缺獨立性,難令人信服。(wt)
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Old January 15th, 2009, 03:34 PM   #162
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Yeah, the traffic impact assessment is written by a private consultant paid by Hopewell, but it still required review and approval from Transport Department.
The TD isn't responsible to do TIA for private developments, and if the developer don't pay the consultant, then who should? The community?
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Old January 19th, 2009, 12:50 AM   #163
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Hopewell II 'blocks mansion'
Joyce Ng
Updated on Jan 19, 2009
South China Morning Post

The road improvement plan for the Wan Chai development Hopewell Centre II is under challenge from a mansion owner, who said a proposed flyover would block the mansion's entrance and render his approved redevelopment plan unviable.

The flyover, to connect Hopewell Centre II's 55-storey conference hotel podium to Kennedy Road, would land at the entrance of the mansion at 64 Kennedy Road. Hopewell Centre II was known as Mega Tower before the project was scaled down.

The mansion's owner, Henry Ngan, whose father founded China Motor Bus, said at a residents' meeting yesterday that the flyover would clash with his redevelopment plan, which was approved by the Town Planning Board and Buildings Department in 2004. His grade-three historic building would be torn down to make way for two 15-storey residential buildings.

Dr Ngan said the flyover landing would be too close to the entrance for fire engines to get into a planned emergency access area, and merging traffic would create a black spot.

"Our plan came before his [Sir Gordon Wu of Hopewell Holdings]. A developer should not take away our right to develop when he comes late."

Dr Ngan's consultant architect, Vincent Ng Wing-shun, said he was concerned the Fire Services Department would not endorse such a blocked emergency access. "It would be unfair if the government allows one plan to defeat an approved one."

A Hopewell spokesman said a "halt" sign would be added at the flyover landing so vehicles leaving the hotel would stop and give priority to cars accessing Dr Ngan's site. He said the mansion's entrance was not located where the land lease required.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 12:52 AM   #164
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Mega Tower clears another hurdle
Olga Wong
Updated on Jan 14, 2009
South China Morning Post

Hopewell Holdings cleared the last departmental hurdle to developing its Hopewell Centre II in Wan Chai after the Transport Department approved the project's traffic impact assessment last week.

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said earlier the bureau would decide on how much Hopewell would have to pay for the government sites, to be included as part of the development area, after the developer's traffic improvement measures were accepted.

Hopewell cut the development density of the Hopewell Centre II, formerly known as Mega Tower, from 93 storeys to 55 last year. The gross floor area was reduced by about 38 per cent and the number of hotel rooms halved to 1,024.

A spokesman for Hopewell Holdings said yesterday the Transport Department accepted the traffic impact assessment, including its recommended road improvement measures, because the development density had been significantly scaled down. "The department accepted that the suggested measures can accommodate the extra 500 vehicles per hour induced by the project," the spokesman said.

He said Hopewell would consult the Wan Chai District Council next week on the improvement measures. Among the measures, the road widening works near Ruttonjee Hospital will require land acquisition, which will be subject to a two-month public consultation.

"Negotiation of land premium will start if no objection is raised against the road widening works," the spokesman said.

Measures to alleviate the increased traffic include widening parts of Kennedy Road, Queen's Road East, and Spring Garden Lane. The construction work is expected to start in 2010 and be completed in 2014.

Copyright © 2009 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All right reserved
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Old January 19th, 2009, 12:53 AM   #165
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I am getting more and more interested to see this TIA.
But a negative growth rate was accepted by the TD?? What the heck are those people doing in TD??
With the Lei Tung Street redevelopment across the street, there is no way the background traffic would go down.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Expert challenges Hopewell traffic data
Olga Wong and Anita Lam
Updated on Jan 15, 2009
South China Morning Post

Hopewell Holdings might have underestimated the traffic impact of its new Hopewell Centre II hotel, according to a traffic expert who has challenged the Transport Department's decision to approve the impact assessment.

Hopewell Holdings announced its traffic impact assessment had been approved by the Transport Department, clearing the last departmental hurdle to the building of the 55-storey convention hotel in Wan Chai.

But Hung Wing-tat of Polytechnic University said the assessment report was full of questions.

The report assessed the impact on four junctions and said traffic along Queen's Road East had been declining by around 1 per cent a year.

"It is impossible for Wan Chai to experience a negative growth rate of traffic when the Transport Department predicted a 4 to 8 per cent growth in the whole territory," Professor Hung said.

Instead of adopting the department's model to project growth rates, the report used a statistical technique known as regression analysis, which Professor Hung said was conducted in an unscientific way.

Professor Hung also said the assessment had missed a junction at Cotton Tree Drive and Kennedy Road and he questioned the hotels used for comparison.

"The new hotel is supposed to be a top one, so why wasn't it compared with the major five-star hotels in the neighbourhood?" he said.

"The department should not have accepted a report of such quality."

A Hopewell Holdings spokesman said the traffic consultant company hired was well established and the report was based on the standard requirements for a traffic impact assessment.

Copyright © 2009 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All right reserved
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Old January 19th, 2009, 01:11 AM   #166
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Critics attack Hopewell project

Monday, January 19, 2009
The Standard

Opponents of the Hopewell Center II development in Wan Chai claim a report put together by the developer on how much traffic the project would generate is riddled with factual errors and underestimations.

Opposition to the Traffic Impact Assessment report which Hopewell has submitted to the government comes from interest groups, residents and political parties, who see it as their last line of defense against the controversial project which has already been scaled back amid public pressure.

"I do not have any background in statistics, and I represent the average reader when I went through the full report," the Civic Party's Tanya Chan Suk-chong told a residents' meeting yesterday. "But even I could pick out details that had serious problems and factual errors."

The Polytechnic University's Associate Professor of the Civil and Structural Engineering Department Hung Wing-tat was equally dismissive.

"There is a gross underestimation of traffic growth in their report," Hung said.

"Linear extrapolation was used to predict growth, but the data points are miles and miles apart. Also, a high class hotel is planned for the new development - and it is generally accepted that higher-status structures will have more through-traffic.

"Yet the developer did not really take this into account when predicting traffic trip rates," Hung said.

Hopewell could not be reached for comment. ADELE WONG
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Old January 20th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #167
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Hopewell II 'blocks mansion'
19 January 2009
South China Morning Post

The road improvement plan for the Wan Chai development Hopewell Centre II is under challenge from a mansion owner, who said a proposed flyover would block the mansion's entrance and render his approved redevelopment plan unviable.

The mansion's owner, Henry Ngan, whose father founded China Motor Bus, said at a residents' meeting yesterday that the flyover would clash with his redevelopment plan, which was approved by the Town Planning Board and Buildings Department in 2004. His grade-three historic building would be torn down to make way for two 15-storey residential buildings.

Dr Ngan said the flyover landing would be too close to the entrance for fire engines to get into a planned emergency access area, and merging traffic would create a black spot.

"Our plan came before his [Sir Gordon Wu of Hopewell Holdings]. A developer should not take away our right to develop when he comes late."

Dr Ngan's consultant architect, Vincent Ng Wing-shun, said he was concerned the Fire Services Department would not endorse such a blocked emergency access. "It would be unfair if the government allows one plan to defeat an approved one."

A Hopewell spokesman said a "halt" sign would be added at the flyover landing so vehicles leaving the hotel would stop and give priority to cars accessing Dr Ngan's site. He said the mansion's entrance was not located where the land lease required.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #168
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Yadda yadda.

As my old maths teacher used to say, "GET ON WITH IT!"
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Old January 24th, 2009, 06:33 AM   #169
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Opinion : Why project's amendments were cleared
21 January 2009
South China Morning Post

Why project's amendments were cleared

I refer to Roger Emmerton's letter ("Department must provide full disclosure on Hopewell Centre II", December 26).

I would like to provide the following information on this development.

The Town Planning Board had considered an inquiry from the developer on whether its proposed amendments to the 1994 approved scheme would fall within Class A amendments under the relevant board guidelines.

The board noted that the proposed amendments would not have any adverse planning impacts and consequences, but would bring about improvements when compared with the approved scheme.

After considering the rationale behind the Class A amendments and given the legal advice obtained, the board agreed that the proposed changes were Class A amendments.

Since the paper contained legal advice, the subject was included as a confidential item in the board's agenda.

The board issued a press statement on December 15, the next working day after the meeting.

As explained in the statement, the proposed amendments involve no change in the proposed use, but a reduction in development scale.

The building footprint, disposition and building form are basically the same.

These are all broad development parameters.

Details of the development including any bonus plot ratio that may be granted would be considered under the Buildings Ordinance, like all other development proposals.

The proposed open space provision including a public park of 2,030 square metres and a private park of 3,850 square metres, which are to be open to public use at reasonable hours, will be maintained.

This is in line with the planning intention to encourage redevelopment of the area into commercial uses with provision of public open space and other supporting facilities.

Regarding the road improvement works, the detailed design is subject to consideration by the relevant government departments to ensure the construction impact will comply with environmental legislation and with traffic regulations.

Wan Chai District Council will be consulted on the traffic impact assessment and the proposed roadworks before gazetting under the Roads Ordinance.

Regarding Mr Emmerton's concerns on the impact on trees, the 1994 approval was subject to an approval condition on submission and implementation of a landscaping plan and a tree felling report. Such a requirement would also be incorporated in the land exchange conditions.

I hope these points have answered the concerns expressed by Mr Emmerton.

Brenda Au, for director of planning
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Old January 26th, 2009, 04:36 PM   #170
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合和二期交評報告獲批 運輸署被指「打倒昨日的我」
21 January 2009
信報

灣仔區議會昨日通過,支持合和二期之道路改善工程刊憲上馬,合和二期有望於二○一四年如期落成。然而,「合和二期交通影響評估報告」不單被指錯漏百出,而且所採用推算交通增長率、俗稱AADT的數據,原來早在四年前已被運輸處以「不準確」為理由,否決合和當日交通增長率的推算。運輸署的決定自相矛盾,被學者和灣仔居民質疑其審核準則,並質疑運輸署打倒昨日之我是否要偏袒發展商利益。

持雙重審核標準

合和實業聯席董事總經理胡文新昨天出席灣仔區議會會議後表示,是次按照合法程序推動合和二期項目,終得以落實,感到很高興,下一步將與政府按程序進行換地安排。被問及「合和二期交通影響評估報告」錯漏百出,以及合和拒絕向政府交出QRE PLAZA是否涉利益輸送,胡文新則不作回應。至於合和在九四年獲批的發展計劃,是否已失效等問題,合和發言人至截稿前亦未有作出回應。

翻查二○○四年九月二十一日灣仔區議會的會議紀錄,當日合和引用運輸署一套俗稱AADT的數據(Annual Average Daily Traffic,全年每日平均車流量 ),向區議會解釋Mega Tower(合和二期前身)對區內交通的影響,所引用之數據不獲接納。

會議紀錄顯示,時任運輸署高級工程師陳錦信在會上表明:「AADT是全年計算的每日平均車流量,但在大型發展項目設計方面,運輸署的關注點在於繁忙時段的路面負荷,而AADT並不能有效反映這方面的情況,加上堅尼地道上有多所學校,引用AADT數據來評估大型發展項目的交通影響,並不可信。」  不過,是次合和提交的交通影響評估報告,同樣採用AADT數據,去推算區內四條路線的交通增長率,卻順利獲運輸署接納。本報就此向運輸署查詢,至截稿前未獲回覆。

理大土木及結構工程學系副教授熊永達認為,運輸署缺乏一套清晰的評估指引和審核準則,容許發展商委託顧問公司「各施各法」進行交通評估,而運輸署審核報告時亦持雙重標準,有欠公允。

合和除了採用AADT評估交通流量外,更未有採用較精確的「區內車流模型」(Base District Traffic Model)去評估合和二期對區內交通的影響。熊永達指出,「區內車流模型」是由運輸署研發,按照區內的人口、車流、道路網及公共交通配套等資料,計算區內的交通容量和交通負荷。

發展商只需輸入相關數據,例如擬發展物業項目的單位數量、所產生的車流量等,該模型便能自動計算出擬發展之物業項目對區內交通造成的額外負荷,從而採取合適措施改善交通問題。

不過,合和沒採用「區內車流模型」,反而採用Junction Capacity Assessment的計算方式,即派人實地收集交通交界範團的車流量,去推算區內四個交通交界範圍於二○一六年的交通容量,該計算方式只適合評估單幢式樓宇物業對附近一帶交通之影響,而運輸署竟然又接納,熊永達坦言感到大惑不解。

熊永達稱,隨著社區發展及大型私人發展項目陸續推出,他促請運輸署訂立指引,要求發展商就大型發展項目進行交通影響評估,必須採用「區內車流模型」,作為統一的評估方法,避免再出現類似合和二期的爭議。

當局強調做法合理

運輸署助理署長盧劍聰昨在灣仔區議會會議上表示,運輸署有一套完善的既定機制去審核私人發展商所提交的交通影響評估報告,《運署規劃及設計手冊》亦列出相關的技術標準及要求。

運輸署發言人強調,署方認為「合和二期交通影響評估報告」的做法、所採用的數據及推算合理,而其建議的道路改善工程能亦有效地紓解合和二期所帶來之交通影響;署方在審核報告時,亦有參考內部數據■採訪.撰文:陸倩盈、雲翔
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Old January 26th, 2009, 10:51 PM   #171
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Wellcome to the jungle !
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Old January 27th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #172
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居民組織促修訂工程
21 January 2009
信報

灣仔區議會昨以十三票贊成、一票反對,通過支持合和二期之交通改善工程刊憲上馬。保護堅尼地道小組發言人何婉屏表明拒絕收貨,正與居民商討進一步行動,要求合和修訂其交通改善工程。

運輸署連同合和實業率領的交通顧問小組,昨日向灣仔區議會介紹「合和二期交通影響評估報告」,會上多名議員批評,報告所採用的數據、計算方式及研究範圍並不全面,低估了合和二期落成後所產生之車流量,又質疑合和斥資四億元的道路改善工程,未能紓緩區內交通擠塞的問題,將來或出現類似銅鑼灣時代廣場附近一帶般交通擠塞。

合和上周公布「合和二期交通影響評估報告」,連日來遭議員、學者及灣仔居民抨擊,運輸署及交通顧問小組昨日顯然有備而來,對各項指控逐一反擊(見表)。合和執行董事楊鑑賢亦親身上陣,首次開腔解釋合和二期落成後,二期範圍內將提供五重交通繞道,包括的士站及旅遊巴上落客站等,可同時疏導二百架車輛,有別於現時銅鑼灣時代廣場只能同時疏導三十二架車輛,強調合和二期不會成為時代廣場翻版。

雖然今次會議,也有支持合和二期的居民到場支持,但由於旁聽居民數目眾多,部分支持者最後未能進入會場。而在會議期間,在場旁聽的保護堅尼地道小組多名成員則拉起橫額,抗議道路改善工程影響區內的道路設計,阻礙消防車駛進位於堅尼地道的屋苑,一名成員屢次打斷運輸署官員發言,被驅趕離場,令現場氣氛一度緊張■
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Old January 28th, 2009, 05:24 AM   #173
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I like the initial renders. Nice grass...
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 07:28 PM   #174
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合和二期的社會意義
30 January 2009
信報

在這百年一遇的金融海嘯陰霾下,牛年人人都希望牛氣沖散這經濟陰霾,重見新天。際此,發展局如牛一樣衝刺,無論公家和私營工程,都盡全力催促上馬,製造就業,促進經濟。爭論三十年的合和二期在發展局的大力支持下上馬,具象徵意義。

由於發展局局長把自己和合和二期的發展綁在一起,對合和二期有不同意見者,將被視為反政府。我得首先聲明,反政府並不是我的立場。我對於商人能在法律容許下賺取利益,認為是對其才智應有的回報,並沒有反感。我的立場很簡單,作為大學的教師,有責任維護和提升學術和專業水平;作為一個公共知識分子,有責任維護社會公義。對合和二期,我所期望的是政府應保護發展商合法的權益,同時應確保發展商不會得到優待或壓抑,造成不公。

一致成疑

我希望藉討論合和二期的交通影響評估(TIA)報告,探討其社會意義,特別是有沒有造成不公。政府要求發展商進行TIA,以確保不會因一己的私利,過分影響公眾利益,即合和二期不令區內交通造成不可接受的擠塞。TIA的進行步驟很簡單,首先評估目前的交通狀況,找出剩餘容量。再推算合和二期落成後,一般交通增長及合和二期產生的交通量,然後評估這些未來交通量對道路擠塞造成的影響。

為求公平和一致性,在評審TIA報告時,運輸署要確保推算交通增長量和評估道路擠塞的方法合理(Reasonable),與要求其他發展商一樣,讓人們看出政府行為的一致性(Consistency)。

讓市民看到政府的行為合理而一致,不偏不倚,是建立人民對政府信任的基石。每個發展項目不同,包括項目的規模、性質、影響範圍和落成時間都有差異,進行TIA時,必然有不盡相同的設定,運輸署的評審尺度不可能一成不變,這是完全合理和可以理解。但若項目規模的影響範圍和時限都相差不遠,運輸署要運用酌情權(Disgration)時,可改變的空間就小得多了。

與合和二期差不多的發展規模、同一地域和時期發展的有「市建局」的利東街項目(H15),比較這兩份TIA報告,可以觀察運輸署行為的合理性和一致性。這兩項目相隔一條皇后大道東,遙遙相對,都是高密度發展,面積相若,同樣審視二○一六年的交通狀況。兩份TIA報告的設定有相當大差異,但同樣得到運輸署的核准,這就不能不令人懷疑運輸署的酌情權是否太大?是否合理和一致?我用相處關鍵性的差異說明問題:一是由現在到二○一六年交通增長量的設定,二是評估交通影響的方法。

合和二期設定附近交通年增長率為百分之零點五,而H15則約為百分之一點五,相差三倍。同是皇后大道東,同是二○一六年的交通預測,運輸署接受這麼大的設定差異,合理嗎?行為一致嗎?

H15是根據運輸署的既定指引而設,而合和二期則用自行建議的方法,即線性回歸法。若以往的交通量真的回歸在一條線上,回歸法是正確的。但合和提供的數據顯示,過往的交通趨勢,根本就呈現直線,線性回歸法在學術上根本不能接受。

專業淪落

合和二期選取某些最關鍵的幾個路口,以傳統的方程式運算評估路口的擠塞程度。H15則採用運輸署提供的電腦模擬,全面評估交通對所有附近路口和道路的影響。採用選取個別路口進行評估的方法,涉及主觀判斷和運用酌情權。運輸署為每區發展一個電腦模擬,原意是減少運用酌情權的爭端,保持政府行為的一致性。但容許合和二期採用選取路口法,是否合理和一致?

我再重申無意反對合和二期上馬。但我反對以所謂非常時期,以非常手段、甚至不合理、不合法繞過常規的做法。最終將會造成社會不公,專業淪落,損害社會整體利益。

香港理工大學土木及結構工程系副教授
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Old February 7th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #175
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運輸署回應合和二期交通評估方法
7 February 2009
信報

要促進香港的可持續發展,一套全面及有效率的整體運輸規劃是必要的。為配合整體運輸規劃,如有私人發展項目申請改變土地用途而令交通流量有所增加時,私人發展商必須提交交通影響評估報告以評估有關發展項目可能對區內交通造成的影響,並建議紓緩措施。

運輸署有一套完善的既定機制去審核私人發展商所提交的交通影響評估報告。審核交通影響評估報告所採用的技術標準及要求,均詳列於本署公開的《運輸規劃及設計手冊》內。

基本上,交通影響評估報告是按照既定的方法及指引進行,而運輸署會小心及詳細地審核報告的做法、數據、估計、推算及建議是否合理。運輸署一直沿用這套機制審核全港所有的擬議項目,向來行之有效。

運輸署不會完全依賴私人發展商或其顧問所提交的數據來作出評估。運輸署會根據本署所掌握的交通數據和資料來作出客觀分析和專業審核,並對私人發展商提交的資料進行質檢,從而決定私人發展商所提交的數據是否合理。倘運輸署認為有關分析和數據並不合理,會要求私人發展商作出澄清,以及提交補充資料和數據。

就社會人士對合和二期的交通影響評估方法及交通增長量設定的關注,運輸署欲作以下的闡述:

交通影響評估的方法

市建局H15利東街項目的交通影響評估是採用交通電腦模型來估計將來的交通流量,而合和二期是使用年增長率(基於近年的交通數據)的方法。這兩種都是用來估計將來的交通流量的專業及實用方法,若個案較為簡單,並不涉及道路基建有重大改變,可考慮採用年增長率的方法。運輸署會參考該署的《運輸規劃及設計手冊》第一冊第三章附件內的指引,並根據個別情況考慮交通顧問公司所建議的方法。

基於合和二期的評估範圍並不複雜(主要集中於兩個位於皇后大道東的關鍵路口),加上該區的發展和道路網已趨成熟及發展項目有詳細的規劃,所以運輸署接納採用年增長率的方法。至於H15項目,主要不同之處是它涉及附近一些道路的建議更改(包括改變行車方向、封閉/新增道路),故採用交通電腦模型來估計將來的交通流量會較為合適。

交通增長量的設定

在估計將來的交通流量時,合和二期報告採用「線性回歸法」來確定其近年年增長率的最佳趨勢直線。運輸署認為這比一般採用簡單平均值的方法更能準確地反映近年的交通平均年增長率。在估計將來的交通流量方面,H15項目是採用交通電腦模型,而不是年增長率的方法,故沒有相對的年增長率數值。兩個評估報告(即合和二期與H15)就皇后大道東在二○一六年的交通流量所作的估計,大致上均相若。

運輸署在審核「合和二期交通影響評估報告」時,有參考內部數據,例如路口流量。

運輸署接納該報告的原因是認為該報告的做法、所採用的數據及推算合理,而其建議的道路改善工程,亦有效地紓解擬議項目所帶來的交通影響。

運輸署一再重申,本署會不偏不倚,嚴守專業操守,以客觀的態度審核私人發展商所提交的交通影響評估報告,以平衡社會及整體公眾的利益。

運輸署署理助理署長鄭鴻亮
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Old February 7th, 2009, 06:49 PM   #176
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If it weren't Lei Tung Street redevelopment, the TD response and methodology would have had been made total sense. The TIA was done in the industry's normal transportation modeling procedure. But it isn't convincing at all when Lei Tung Street is coming in town at the same time. The Hopewell's TIA seems to ignore the Lei Tung Street redevelopment, and projected the volumes based on an isolated development.

Prof. Hung has his point. TD should have had forced Hopewell's consultant to adopt the Lei Tung Street model and further analyze the development's impact on Queen's Road East and adjacent street networks. It's a disappointing decision, and unprofessional, by the TD.

But, it's good to see this kind of arguments and approval process is raising to strengthen the traffic/transportation engineers industry in HK in these coming years.
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Old February 15th, 2009, 03:48 PM   #177
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Public split over Hopewell's Wan Chai rezoning plan
Government backs developer over open-space U-turn

12 February 2009
South China Morning Post

Public opinion is split over Hopewell Holding's proposal to turn its open space in Wan Chai into commercial use.

The proposal has drawn more than 4,500 public submissions to the Town Planning Board from residents and concern groups, with 2,676 supporting and 1,907 objecting.

A 25-storey commercial building named QRE Plaza has already been built on Hopewell's site on 196-206 Queen's Road East. The government said rezoning the former open space site for commercial use would legitimise the new building.

It also said the change would not reduce the open space provision in Wan Chai, as the Hopewell Centre II development will provide an additional 5,880 square-metre open space in future.

But opponents are angered that the developer itself suggested a land exchange, surrendering the site as open space as part of its proposal of building the 93-storey Mega Tower in 1994, according to a Town Planning Board paper released yesterday.

But the suggestion was not incorporated as a condition when the board approved the Mega Tower plan, although the government later zoned the site as open space to reflect the plan's intention.

Hopewell later decided to give up its open space proposal after its amended plan of breaking the tower into two high-rises was rejected in 2004. Instead, it built the QRE Plaza on the site according to an old plan approved in 1981.

While Hopewell stressed it has no obligation to provide the open space, critics said it was the government's bureaucracy that allowed the developer to exploit the system and not to deliver the space.

Civic Party vice-chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak said the case demonstrated the flaws in the town-planning system, with land and planning issues decided by separate bodies. "The land exchange policy, operated with plenty of discretion, defeats the whole purpose of town planning. Lands officials can override town planners' decisions."

According to the board's paper released yesterday, although the board endorsed Hopewell's open space proposal in 1994 and advised it to negotiate with the Lands Department, the department rejected the proposal for a land exchange. Mr Lai said it was unclear why the government now decided not to insist on the open-space zoning as it did in the 1990s. "There is a lack of accountability."

Meanwhile, opponents say in their submissions that the elimination of the open-space zoning would represent a public loss. "Unless the developer would surrender another piece of land for open-space development, the subject site should not be rezoned. The board cannot be treated as a rubber stamp," they said.

A spokeswoman for Hopewell Holdings said the company had strong justifications for the application and had already submitted them to the board.

The board will discuss the case tomorrow.
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Old February 16th, 2009, 05:40 PM   #178
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Hopewell wins zoning approval
14 February 2009
South China Morning Post

The government has rezoned a planned open space in Queen's Road East into commercial use, giving Hopewell Holdings the approval it sought for a 25-storey building it has already built on the site.

The Town Planning Board said it granted the developer's application because the site faced heavy traffic and was not suited for an open space.

Critics said the decision was unacceptable.

Hopewell had proposed the open space in 1994 as part of its plans for the former Mega Tower project. The suggestion was not incorporated into the plan when the government approved the project, though it later zoned the site as an open space.

The Mega Tower project was later amended, and Hopewell pressed ahead with a plan approved in the 1980s and built the QRE Plaza, which was completed last year.

The developer then applied for a rezoning - from open space to commercial use - to legitimise the existing land use, which the Planning Department supported yesterday.

District planning officer Brenda Au Kit-ying noted that the Lands Department had opposed the open space proposal more than 10 years ago.

"The site was zoned as open space in 1994 because Wan Chai did not have enough open space at that time," she said. "Now we have ample open space if we take into account that in the Lee Tung Street redevelopment and new reclamation area in Wan Chai North."

Keren Seddon, a planning consultant representing Hopewell, said keeping the old zoning was not a practical solution. "The site is exposed to noise and air pollution from heavy traffic loads, it is not an ideal location for open space," she said.

About 2,000 out of more than 4,000 public submissions to the board oppose the rezoning and want the developer to compensate for the loss of this open space by providing another. But Hopewell said it had already proposed to revitalise Nam Koo Terrace, which will have green space, as part of the Hopewell Centre II development formerly known as Mega Tower.

Lawmaker Tanya Chan, who found the board's decision unacceptable, said there was still a shortage of open space in Wan Chai and that compensation should be sought.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:47 AM   #179
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合和二期交評—小心應用統計方法
20 February 2009
信報

近來,理工大學土木及結構工程系熊永達先生、運輸署和LLA顧問公司討論有關合和二期交通評估的計算方法,文章於一月三十日、二月七日和二月十二日在本報發表。由於當中討論涉及統計方法的應用,與筆者的專業有關,因此本人亦趁此機會,談談我的看法,指出統計方法在應用時一些需要留意的地方,希望帶出正確使用統計方法的訊息,能夠對有關當局和有興趣人士,在探討相關問題時,有所幫助。

熊永達先生在他的文章中批評:「顧問公司採用的直線回歸法,找出增長趨勢,是學術上不能接受的」,這很有道理。

熊文討論皇后大道東兩個監察站記錄到的交通流量,本人選取其中一站的交通流量散布圖,用以說明顧問公司統計分析的一些問題。

不接受線性回歸法

一、顧問公司所採用的線性回歸法 (linear regression,圖中直線),背後的其中一個假定是,數據之間在統計上是相互獨立的 (mutually independent),可是,這個假設在時間序列 (time series) 中,包括皇后大道東交通流量數據,絕大部分情況下是不正確的。

二、要分析時間序列,如果數據不平穩(non-stationary),我們先要把它轉化成平穩(stationary),再作進一步分析、探討。皇后大道東一二三三站的交通流量看來很像是分成兩組的—一九九九年至二○○三年和二○○四年至二○○七年,當中第一組的流量都比第二組的為高。另外,圖中亦清楚顯示,整體上流量是下降的。所以,明顯地該地點的交通流量序列不是平穩的。

綜觀上述兩點,顧問公司所採用的線性回歸法,在統計學上是不能接受的。

難找出解決方法

三、對統計學有一定認識的人都應該知道,如果樣本數目太少,統計分析出來的結果,很有可能跟實際情況差距很大,顧問公司的樣本數目是九個(一九九九年至二○○七年),在統計學上肯定是一個小樣本。採取這樣的一個小樣本,要準確估計皇后大道東二○一六年的交通流量,就有點兒像預測該年的恆生指數一樣,難度非常之高,而顧問公司所得出來的交通流量年增長率,亦存在著很大的不確定性。採取九個過去數據去預測九年後(二○○七年至二○一六年)的情況,這麼困難的事,非我輩人士所能做到。

解決方法—相當不容易!這麼一個令人頭痛兼頭痕的問題,不是本人一個小小的腦袋所能想通和承受。運輸及房屋局之下和顧問公司當中,能人眾多,查找不足、探討優良的解決方法的責任,則非他們莫屬了。

合和二期發展計劃,爭論已久,本人絕對無意反對合和二期上馬。可是,一些人雖然口中說出了堂而皇之的理由,心裏卻盤算怎樣得到最大的自身利益,反對項目上馬,而這項目亦在不斷爭論之中,拖拖拉拉,擾擾攘攘近三十年,虛耗了不少社會資源,令人難過。

最後,我在此引用熊永達先生文章內的兩段說話作為總結:「我再重申無意反對合和二期上馬。但我反對以所謂非常時期,以非常手段,甚至不合理、不合法繞過常規的做法。最終將會造成社會不公,專業淪落,損害社會整體利益」。還有,「政府運用酌情權,必須有所依據,讓民眾看得清楚,否則,我們賴以自豪的公平和公義社會基石,就逐步被挖空。長官們,請三思。」  這兩段話亦說中了我心裏的一些想法。

香港大學統計及精算學系講座教授
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Old February 24th, 2009, 03:28 PM   #180
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I guess we should be able to see its completion by 2046.
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