Opening Kai San Road to link up the old and new districts of Kai Tak
The Government is committed to developing Kowloon East into a new core business district with a range of commercial, recreational and tourism facilities. Among the initiatives carried out, the Kai Tak Development (KTD) implemented since 2007 has all along played a major role in promoting the economic development of Hong Kong and revitalising the old districts nearby, including Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin and Kwun Tong. To perform its role properly, the KTD area requires a convenient, safe, reliable and well-planned transport linkage network. A few days ago, I accompanied the Chief Executive, Mrs LAM CHENG Yuet-ngor, Carrie, to officiate at the opening ceremony of Kai San Road, a new carriageway linking the KTD area and San Po Kong, which signals that the connection between the KTD area and its neighbouring districts is turning a new page.
Kai San Road is one of the major infrastructure projects of the KTD. This new carriageway, about 570 metres long, runs across Prince Edward Road East and connects with the existing Concorde Road in the KTD area and Tsat Po Street in San Po Kong. As Prince Edward Road East is a trunk road in East Kowloon, it is extremely challenging to carry out works beneath this busy carriageway. I am glad to have the opportunity to witness firsthand the opening of Kai San Road, and I am really happy for all those involved in the project.
Increasing development intensity to meet community needs
The KTD is a highly complex development project spanning an area of over 320 hectares and covering the 280-hectare site of the former airport together with the development projects in the adjoining hinterland of Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin and Kwun Tong. To align with the transformation of Kowloon East and the public expectations for more housing supply in the urban areas, we have carried out a land use review of the KTD area. The relevant planning review and technical assessment, completed in September 2016, recommended rezoning of certain sites or increasing their development intensity so as to increase the housing and office floor area. Study results revealed that the KTD area would add roughly 330 000 square metres of commercial floor area and about 11 000 residential units, with the resident population increasing from about 105 000 to 134 000. The Town Planning Board approved the proposed amendments to the Kai Tak Outline Zoning Plan early this year and is currently carrying out the relevant statutory planning procedures.
In addition, the KTD area features a number of distinctive projects including the Lung Tsun Stone Bridge Remnants preservation corridor, the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, the Kai Tak Sports Park, the Kai Tak Runway Park, the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, the Kwun Tong Promenade, the improvement works at the Kai Tak Approach Channel and the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter, the District Cooling System, etc. Some of the projects have been completed, and with the gradual completion of the remaining projects, the environment in the surrounding area will be greatly improved to meet community needs for their daily lives.
Kai Tak and To Kwa Wan MTR stations due to open in mid-2019
Regarding many people’s concerns about the supporting transport facilities and the receiving capacity in this area, we believe that the existing and planned transport networks are able to cope with the internal and external connectivity and traffic needs of the KTD. Firstly, the rail will form the backbone in the connectivity of the KTD, including the Kai Tak and To Kwa Wan stations of the Shatin to Central Link (SCL) under construction as well as the proposed Environmentally Friendly Linkage System for Kowloon East. Owing to the discovery of archaeological remains at the work site of the To Kwa Wan station earlier, the “Tai Wai to Hung Hom section” of the SCL is only due to open in mid-2019. The Route 6 under planning, comprising the Central Kowloon Route, the Trunk Road T2 in South East Kowloon and the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel, will provide express access for the KTD to connect East and West Kowloon.
Furthermore, four district distributor roads will be constructed in the KTD, including Road D1 (Olympic Avenue and Concorde Road), Road D2 (Shing Kai Road), Road D3 (Shing Fung Road) and Road D4 (Shing Cheong Road). Among them, Road D2 (Shing Kai Road) is a dual three-lane road, while the remaining three are dual two-lane roads. These roads are currently under construction in phases to align with the development needs of the KTD.
Incorporating Public Creatives to establish a place brand of Kai Tak
Kai Tak has undergone some dramatic transformations over the years. Now, it will be redeveloped into a hub for living, working, leisure, sports and tourism with a distinctive development model. We truly have great expectations for it. Besides gradually implementing the projects just mentioned, we have also incorporated the concept of “Public Creatives” into them to establish a place brand of Kai Tak, so as to help build among the public a sense of identity and belonging towards the development characteristics of Kai Tak. For instance, the signature colour of “Public Creatives” and the logo of “Current of Vitality” are used on the two side walls of Kai San Road. The logo, font and colour design unique to the brand are also painted on a wide array of street furniture, such as street lamp poles, street name poles, the paving blocks of pavements and rubbish bins, so that residents and tourists can feel the uniqueness and vibrancy of Kai Tak, and together give full play to their imagination and creativity to make Kai Tak a better place for living and working.
In fact, excluding the infrastructure, about 30 percent or 100 hectares of land in the new Kai Tak area has been designated as open space, representing a minimum greening ratio of 30 percent of the total area. At the opening ceremony of Kai San Road, we especially included community planting activities, which we invited both the officiating guests and some children of the workers who built Kai San Road to join. It has significant meaning for us all as these children not only witness a new chapter in the development of Kai Tak, but also pass on the legacy of Kai Tak.
20 August, 2017