With regards to the reply from Transport and Housing Bureau to Legislative Council today, CAN would like to make the following comments:
1) According to the reply, Central Wanchai Bypass (CWB) is able to alleviate traffic congestion in Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road and Gloucester Road and decrease projected volume to capacity ratios from 1.3 to 0.9, which means that the traffic condition can be improved.
2) However, CAN does not agree with the Bureau that CWB cannot reduce traffic flow in Des Voeux Road Central (DVRC). The Bureau’s claim is based on the assumption that the traffic demand and pattern of road usage would remain unchanged in the near future. As indicated in the government’s reply, the reserved capacity of the junction of Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road Central will be improved from 2% to 6% after the commissioning of the CWB – which shows that CWB is able to divert traffic from DVRC.
3) CAN has been proposing to rezone DVRC into a pedestrian and tram-only precinct as an innovative and pro-active scheme. It aims to reduce road transport demand in the district by providing an alternative short distance transport mode – walking. With the implementation of electronic road pricing in the area, congestion and related air pollution in Central can be enormously reduced.
4) Patrick Fung, CEO of Clean Air Network, says “It will be a great loss to HK people and the government if the CWB cannot perform its intended function – to alleviate traffic congestion in the Central & Western District. The CWB should be considered as a part of the bigger strategy to reduce public’s reliance on road transport in short distance commuting, in order to ease traffic congestion. Other necessary measures could also be implemented in parallel to the completion of the CWB in order to provide pragmatic and attractive transport alternatives for commuters, such as improving the pedestrian environment in Central & Western District.”