Following is a question by the Ir Dr Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 3):
Question : With respect to street name plates, will the Government inform this Council whether:
(a) it has statistics on the percentage of road junctions with street name plates among all road junctions at present, and whether it has plans to install street name plates at each road junction to assist motorists and pedestrians (especially tourists) who are not familiar with the roads in finding their way;
(b) it plans to provide Braille street name plates for the visually impaired; if so, of the details; if not, the measures to assist the visually impaired in finding out where they are;
(c) it plans to show the street names in bigger characters and install a lighting system for street name plates so that they can be seen clearly by motorists and pedestrians at night; and
(d) it plans to improve the appearance of the existing street name plates; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
At present, street name plates are provided at the two ends of each road. Though not a mandatory requirement, street name plates are installed at most of the road junctions, and where these junctions are more than 400 metres apart, additional street name plates will be provided at an interval of approximately 200 metres. There are no formal statistics on the percentage of road junctions equipped with street name plates among all road junctions. However, it is estimated that over 80 per cent of the road junctions have been installed with street name plates. Highways Department regularly inspects the road network to identify locations where additional street name plates are needed and will carry out installation works accordingly. It is also reviewing the placement requirement of street name plates.
At present we have no plan to provide Braille street name plates for the visually impaired people. One of the pre-requisites for the use of Braille street name plates is that some form of guidance must be provided to lead the visually impaired to physically touch the Braille inscriptions. The provision of the necessary guidance, such as the implementation of an extensive network of tactile guide paths, will have far-reaching implications on the use of existing footpaths by the general public. Extensive consultation and detailed investigation are therefore needed as regards the feasibility of using Braille street name plates.
Since street name plates are sufficiently illuminated by normal street lighting to be clearly seen by motorists and pedestrians at night, we have no plan currently to enlarge the font size on street name plates or install a lighting system for them.
New designs of street name plates with enhanced aesthetic appearances are being developed under a consultancy study commissioned by Highways Department for use in selected areas, such as tourist districts and commercial centers. Building numbers will also be inscribed on the new street name plates to assist road users in identifying addresses. The designs will be finalized by August 2002 and the new street name plates will be implemented in stages.
End/Wednesday, July 3, 2002