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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pedestrian zone plan for Nathan Road
Chester Yung, Hong Kong Standard
May 25, 2005

Imagine a vehicle-free and pedestrian friendly area on one of Kowloon's busiest roads.

It may be more than just a dream as a top transport official said Tuesday that plans are afoot to make an area of Nathan Road only for pedestrians.

Commissioner for Transport Robert Footman said it would be located south of Nathan Road, near Jordan Road.

Footman told reporters that the Planning Department and the Transport Department will consult the Yau Tsim Mong district council on the issue.

"There mixed feeling on [this plan]. [Some believe] it really is a good idea but there are some concerns about whether it will affect their business."

Footman added that the plan is a long way off.

"At the moment, it is very conceptual, we need to persuade the people that this is a good idea. If they buy the idea, we can develop it into a specific plans." he said.

Earlier, University of Hong Kong Professor of Community Medicine Anthony Hedley criticized the government for its lack of urgency in tackling air pollution. He called on the government to stop building roads and make roads "walkable" in order to improve air quality.

The pedestrian-friendly policy is enforced in parts of Causeway Bay and Mong Kok and since its implementation in 2000, air pollution levels have dropped by 11 percent, according to the government figures.

Other areas are Central, Wan Chai, Stanley, North Point, The Peak, Tsim Sha Tsui, Sham Shui Po, Jordan, Yuen Long and Sheung Shui.

Footman called the Nathan Road plan "an ongoing process."
 

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I agree on a vehicle-free and pedestrian friendly area like Mong Kok and Causeway Bay, but not on Nathan Road, perhaps smaller streets in Tsim Sha Tsui would be better.
 

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No way, do that on Canton Road Instead.
 

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Personally, I think making a pedestrian zone for Nathan Road is a good idea, however, thinking about how many traffic congestions that will make, I don't think its practical unless they make an underground tunnel on the same route as Nathan Road. However, there's also the metro line running under it... YIKES!!!

Pedestrian zones are good especially in retail areas. For example, look @ Shanghai's Nanjing Road. It was a major road before until they made it 100% pedestrianized. If Nathan Road is a huge retail area, maybe making it pedestrians only on weekends is better such as Tokyo's Ginza district.
 

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pedestrianizing the southern part of nathan road is a great idea. that is often the most congested sidewalk in the city! i go there frequently to eat indian food at chungking mansions. perhaps a tram running north along nathan road would be a good idea, just like on hk island. something would surely have to be done about finding an alternative for the traffic however.
 

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ThaQuest said:
pedestrianizing the southern part of nathan road is a great idea. that is often the most congested sidewalk in the city! i go there frequently to eat indian food at chungking mansions. perhaps a tram running north along nathan road would be a good idea, just like on hk island. something would surely have to be done about finding an alternative for the traffic however.
it sounds like a radical suggestion though..
for the pedestrians it's great, but it seems they're blocking up all the most important main roads in TST.. not really sure about the traffic. (i mean, think about the bus terminus they're trying to get rid of... which is great i think, but whether the future roundabout can handle that much traffic.. it's still a question!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
LCQ7: Measures to improve pedestrian facilities along Nathan Road
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Miriam Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (February 8):

Question:

I have noticed that the pavements along certain sections of Nathan Road are often obstructed, resulting in pedestrians having to walk on the road and competing with vehicles for road space. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of verbal warnings given and prosecutions instituted in the past three years in respect of illegal hawking, on-street promotional stands, unauthorised expansion of business areas by shops and the occupation of areas larger than permitted by newspaper stands on the pavements along Nathan Road;

(b) whether it will step up the above prosecution actions to keep the pavements along Nathan Road unobstructed; and

(c) of the details of the measures to be implemented by the authorities to address the problem of competition between pedestrians and vehicles for road space along Nathan Road?

Reply:

Madam President,

Keeping the pavements unobstructed is a street management problem that involves a number of Government departments. Generally, enforcement departments will give verbal warnings to the offenders. If the situation remains, enforcement departments will take prosecutions against the offenders.

(a) In 2003 to 2005, in respect of illegal hawking, on-street promotional stands, unauthorised expansion of business areas by shops and occupation of areas larger than permitted by newspaper stands on the pavements along Nathan Road, the numbers of verbal warnings given and prosecutions taken by the Police and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) are as follows -

Code:
                        Verbal warnings(*)  Prosecutions

Illegal hawking                     363            304
On-street promotional stands         55              0
Unauthorised expansion of
business areas by shops              47             40
Occupation of areas larger than
permitted by newspaper stands       264            234
(b) Relevant enforcement departments will keep in view the situation and take enforcement action as appropriate. For example, the Police will take enforcement action where the obstruction arising from the activities causes either public order or public safety concerns. FEHD will take enforcement action to maintain environmental hygiene and combat illegal hawking. Where necessary, relevant departments will take joint operations to keep the pavements along Nathan Road unobstructed.

(c) The Transport Department (TD) has been working on measures to improve pedestrian facilities along Nathan Road to minimise vehicle-pedestrian conflict. Such measures include widening of pedestrian crossings at Argyle Street and Dundas Street, as well as commissioning of traffic signals and a pedestrian crossing at Hamilton Street.

Apart from the measures at grade, there are also six pedestrian subways across Nathan Road at Fife Street, Argyle Street, Nelson Street, Soy Street, Pitt Street and Waterloo Road to separate pedestrians from vehicles between Mong Kok Road and Waterloo Road.

In addition, TD is also planning to improve the pedestrian footbridge system at Mong Kok Road. It is expected that works to extend the footbridge across Nathan Road will commence by the end of this year.

Separately, the Planning Department will commission a consultancy study entitled "Area Improvement Plan for the Shopping Areas of Mong Kok" in February 2006. The Study aims to formulate a comprehensive plan to improve the environment of the shopping areas of Mong Kok in terms of better land use, enhanced pedestrian circulation, better traffic management, a more comfortable pedestrian environment and enhanced streetscape. Reduction of vehicle-pedestrian conflict in Mong Kok is an issue that would be examined. The Study is expected to complete in two years.

Note (*) The statistics on verbal warnings are from FEHD only. The Police does not have statistics on verbal warnings given.
 

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ThaQuest said:
pedestrianizing the southern part of nathan road is a great idea. that is often the most congested sidewalk in the city! i go there frequently to eat indian food at chungking mansions. perhaps a tram running north along nathan road would be a good idea, just like on hk island. something would surely have to be done about finding an alternative for the traffic however.
i don't think it is a good idea. MTR is running underground of nathan road already, and it has SIGNIFICANTLY more capacity than a light-capacity tram system. I don't think tram will help ease the traffic.
 

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sfgadv02 said:
Yea, considering how many buses already runs on Nathan Road.
Yes - but how many of these run empty (or near-empty) for all or part of the trip from Mong Kok through to the Ferry Terminal?

Having so many half-empty buses going up and down Nathan Road is a waste of resources. They could serve the areas they go through more frequently if they didn't sit in traffic on Nathan Road half the journey. Ideally there would be some kind of 'mega-interchange' at Prince Edward end of Nathan Road, where all Nathan Road bound buses would terminate.

People travelling through to Mong Kok or TST would change to trams (or the MTR), which have greater capacity, are quieter, don't produce pollution, and take up less lanes of traffic. Nathan Road could then be turned into a pedestrian mall (with trams) similar to Bourke Street in Melbourne, which works really well.
 

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An elevated highway might work. If you have ever been around one, you might notice that the noise on ground level is minimal. It provides shade for the pedestrian space below, and allows both vehicles and people to occupy the same vertical space. This might kill the open air atmosphere of a pedestrian space as expected and envisioned, but with appropriate design, it could be successful.
 

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ThaQuest said:
An elevated highway might work. If you have ever been around one, you might notice that the noise on ground level is minimal. It provides shade for the pedestrian space below, and allows both vehicles and people to occupy the same vertical space. This might kill the open air atmosphere of a pedestrian space as expected and envisioned, but with appropriate design, it could be successful.
Impossible. There are already two metro lines under and there're many buildings along Nathan Road. That makes the cost on compansations and construction tooooooooooo costly. :|
 

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Besides the traffic, there are some more practical problems on Nathan Road. Does anyone notice that there are some large newsstands which are always blocking the pavement and force the pedestrians walk on the vehicle road when there is full of people? The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department always issue fines on them but NOTHING can move them away!!! It is surely that the newsstand licensing policy has to be changed!!! :speech:
 

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vincent said:
i don't think it is a good idea. MTR is running underground of nathan road already, and it has SIGNIFICANTLY more capacity than a light-capacity tram system. I don't think tram will help ease the traffic.
Many passengers prefer the bus to the MTR because bus stops are more closely spaced and convienent and it saves hiking up and down 2 levels. A tram/lightrail system running the length of the road, similar to what's been set up in the main street in Yuen Long, should be competitive against buses. It'll certainly improve the air quality, and most likely provide more efficient travel times when compared to the chaos of bus traffic on Nathan Rd now.
 

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busdriver said:
Many passengers prefer the bus to the MTR because bus stops are more closely spaced and convienent and it saves hiking up and down 2 levels. A tram/lightrail system running the length of the road, similar to what's been set up in the main street in Yuen Long, should be competitive against buses. It'll certainly improve the air quality, and most likely provide more efficient travel times when compared to the chaos of bus traffic on Nathan Rd now.
It would have a higher possiblity to use the trolleybuses than the trams on Nathan Road, as trams need tracks which make the construction cost higher. :|
 

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hkth said:
It would have a higher possiblity to use the trolleybuses than the trams on Nathan Road, as trams need tracks which make the construction cost higher. :|
Trollybuses and trams both provide the benefit of elimiating emissions from the current diesel powered buses. However, without construction of a dedicated right of way which seperates the vehicles from other traffic, the result would be just as chaotic as the current situation. This would negate much of the cost advantage. Also, the length, and therefore capacity, of an untracked trolly bus would be more limiting when compared to a tracked vehicle. Since a tracked vehicle can negotiate turns more predictably, and can be double headed to elimiate the need for space to turn around at the end of the line, it can be made quite a bit longer than a similar but untracked bus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
LCQ18: Nathan Road Road Safety Improvement Plan
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon James To and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, in the Legislative Council meeting today (March 28):

Question:

In the Nathan Road Road Safety Improvement Plan published at the end of 2005, the Government put forward three concepts, which included prohibiting all vehicles except buses from using Nathan Road, so as to improve the situation of pedestrians and vehicles competing to use the road. I have learnt that after consulting the public, the Transport Department had indicated that it would revise the Plan, which included restructuring the relevant bus routes, and would consult the public afresh on the revised Plan. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the progress of formulating the bus-route restructuring ******** (including when it is expected to consult District Councils, and whether the restructured routes can be implemented within this year), and whether it will revise the original targets set for the restructuring of the bus routes (such as reducing the number of buses using Nathan Road by 100); and

(b) the progress of revising the Nathan Road Road Safety Improvement Plan, and when it will consult the public on the revised Plan?

Reply:

Madam President,

Since the Transport Department (TD) reported to the Traffic and Transport Committee of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council on the revised strategy for improving road safety at Nathan Road in September 2006, it has started studies on the improvement plans in accordance with the strategy.

On the rationalization of franchised bus routes, we have been reducing the number of buses through re-organising bus routes, particularly those operating at busy roads or those with relatively low utilisation, in order to improve traffic conditions and reduce roadside emissions. TD and the bus companies are now consulting the relevant Traffic and Transport Committees of the District Councils on a *** round of bus route development plans. TD will review the details of the plans and make adjustments as necessary in the light of the views collected during consultation, changes in traffic conditions and passenger travelling patterns. Hence, the actual number of buses reduced upon implementation of the plans varies each year. With the implementation of various bus route rationalisation plans, the number of franchised buses was reduced from about 6 400 in late 2002 to about 5 850 in late 2006. We will continue our efforts in this regard so as to further reduce the number of buses.

Apart from that, the revised strategy also includes measures to simplify traffic control at road junctions and improve pedestrian crossing facilities. After consultation with the Yau Tsim Mong District Council, TD has planned to commence works for extending the pedestrian footbridge on Mong Kok Road to the west of Nathan Road in early 2008. TD is also finalising various specific and detailed proposals on widening of pedestrian crossings and improvements to pedestrian subways, and will conduct consultation shortly. The proposals include:

(a) to commence works for widening the pedestrian crossing at Nathan Road near Argyle ****** in mid-2007;

(b) to cancel the bus-only right-turning from Nathan Road northbound to Mong Kok Road in order to reduce the situation whereby pedestrians and vehicles compete for use of the road; and

(c) to commission an engineering consultant to study the feasibility of installing lifts in the pedestrian subway at Soy ******.
 
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