Monday, 3 October 2016

HK Govt Needs to Walk This Way

Hong Kong is walkable to a degree and then it gets frustrating and dangerous
It's odd that transport minister Anthony Cheung Bing-leung says if Hong Kong people want a more walkable city then they should walk more.

Shouldn't the government take the lead? How can we walk more if there are impediments in the way or paths that are not developed yet?

He said this during the Walk21 Conference hosted by think tank Civic Exchange. While he acknowledged some people are keen on more walking and cycling for a health lifestyle, he noted there were others "less ready to change their commuting habits and patterns".

During Occupy pedestrians enjoyed walking along freeways
Cheung said there were many cases where communities were opposed to the re-routing or frequency of a bus network that would result in commuters having to walk an extra 10 or 15 minutes.

There is also the ongoing issue of car owners wanting to have more car parks in all 18 districts in the city.

"For many people, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We need actionable change and even a paradigm shift on how our city life is to be organized," he said.

"Are we willing to endure more congested trains and buses and to walk more so that we do not have to go for continuous expansion of the infrastructure? Tough questions and a tough trade-off indeed."

Part of the problem is that some offices are too far away to walk. In my case walking or taking the bus from Kennedy Town to Taipo is completely unfeasible.

I think I am like most commuters, always taking public transport and walking wherever I can.

The red path is a nice walk from Central to Wan Chai
But the government should be making more public land more accessible, particularly the harbourfront for people to exercise and have leisurely walks. There also needs to be more safe areas for people to cycle other than the bike paths in the New Territories.

Currently one can walk from Wan Chai all the way to Sai Ying Pun where the Western wholesale market is, but then one has to do a major detour before getting back to the harbourfront again towards Kennedy Town. If that was one wide, safe, continuous path, more people would use it for sure, including myself.

And by the way has he seen what it's like in the MTR during rush hour? He really should experience it himself to understand people's frustrations of having to wait for several trains before they can squeeze on?

Don't get us wrong -- we appreciate the MTR, but is it ready for a greater onslaught of people once the south line opens?

What are the alternatives?

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