The GreenWay Pilot Project
In recent months, visitors to the Kwun Tong Promenade may cycle along the waterfront apart from running, strolling or picnicking on the lawn to enjoy the Victoria Harbour views. In July this year, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) launched a six-month GreenWay Pilot Project at the Kwun Tong Promenade in the Kai Tak Development Area (KTDA). Under the pilot project, a footpath of approximately 1 kilometre (km) in length at the promenade was turned into the GreenWay for shared use by pedestrians and cyclists, with free rental of bicycles provided for adults and children alike.
This week, I have invited colleagues of the CEDD and the person in charge of a social enterprise that helps run the bicycle loan service to talk about the concept of the GreenWay and details of the pilot project.
Construction of a cycle track network in Kai Tak
Chief Engineer of the CEDD, Mr LO Sai-pak, Sunny, responsible for the KTDA, said that the development area is huge of which one third, i.e. about 100 hectares, has been reserved for open space use, including the construction of a cycle track of about 13 km in total length. The proposed alignment will link up various scenic spots in the KTDA, including the Kai Tak Station Square, Kai Tak Sports Park, Kai Tak River, Lung Tsun Stone Bridge Preservation Corridor, Sung Wong Toi Park, Metro Park, Runway Park, as well as the waterfront promenade on both sides of the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter (see the figure).
Different from traditional cycle tracks that are segregated from footpaths, the cycle track network in the KTDA will adopt a shared-use concept for pedestrians and cyclists to allow better utilisation of the open spaces and waterfront area. It will also facilitate the integration of the cycle track into the surrounding environment, enhance the connectivity of various open spaces there and improve the coherence of the design of the development area as a whole.
A six-month trial run to test the effectiveness
According to Mr Sunny LO, while the GreenWay has long been adopted in overseas cities such as Singapore, London, Paris and New York, the shared-use approach for pedestrians and cyclists is a relatively new concept in Hong Kong. The public may have concerns about its operation and safety. In view of this, the CEDD collaborated with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to launch a short-term pilot project in July this year, under which the footpath at the Kwun Tong Promenade is used as the GreenWay for the public to experience the shared use of roads by pedestrians and cyclists. Data and feedback are being collected in the process to accumulate experience in management and implementation. The pilot project will serve as a point of reference for the full-scale implementation of the GreenWay in the KTDA in future.
About 8 700 users with positive feedback
The six-month pilot project will come to a close on 31 December this year. Mr Sunny LO said that as at the end of November, about 8 700 attendance had used the GreenWay during the trial run of almost five months. I am pleased to learn from my colleagues that most users show support for the shared-use approach for pedestrians and cyclists and hope that the GreenWay project will be taken forward smoothly.
Social enterprise BiciLine helping with the operation
Currently, the GreenWay is operated by the BiciLine Cycling Eco-tourism Social Enterprise under the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. Besides providing free rental of bicycles and equipment for members of the public, BiciLine deploys on-site bicycle ambassadors to give guidance and assistance during the opening hours of the GreenWay from 9a.m. to 6p.m. Signage and road markings have been specially added to the location to enable users to learn and observe the rules.
According to Operation Assistant of BiciLine, Mr IP Chun-yeung, Ivan, they will explain to users of the GreenWay a series of safety instructions. For example, pedestrians and cyclists should understand and accommodate each other, cyclists should keep to the left as far as possible and keep the GreenWay clear. In addition, the GreenWay is trying out the use of AI (artificial intelligence technology) to run a real-time incident detection system. In case of collisions or accidents on the GreenWay, the system will alert on-site staff to get to the scene and provide prompt assistance.
Cycle track network to be completed in two phases
The pilot project will serve as a point of reference for the full-scale implementation of the cycle track network and the GreenWay in the KTDA, which will be constructed in two phases. The first phase of the network will see the construction of a cycle track of about 7.5km in total length, scheduled for completion in 2023 with the associated KTDA open spaces, Kai Tak Sports Park and Kai Tak Station Square. The second phase will dovetail with the implementation programmes of the infrastructure and other development projects in the KTDA and is expected to be completed after 2025.
The pilot project is a significant step in opening up the GreenWay network in Kai Tak. I hope that when the whole GreenWay network is completed, we can stroll around Kai Tak on our bicycles and make the former airport site and the nearby waterfront area a new, dynamic and vibrant leisure space.
9 December, 2018