Following is a question by the Hon Kam Nai-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 11):
The Cycling Study Final Report, which was published by the Transport Department in 2004, pointed out that any proposals to expand the role of cycling in the urban areas of Hong Kong and Kowloon must first remedy the very vulnerable condition of cyclists in these areas which arose due to factors such as high traffic flows and speeds on many roads. On the other hand, there are very few cycle tracks on Hong Kong Island, and also the Government has no plan to construct cycle tracks on the Island at present. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) apart from confirming to study the provision of cycling facilities along the Hong Kong Island East harbourfront for leisure and recreational purposes, whether it will expeditiously study the feasibility of constructing cycle tracks along other harbourfront areas on Hong Kong Island;
(b) of the criteria and mechanism the authorities will adopt for considering the priorities of various proposals to construct cycle tracks in various locations in urban areas, when the proposals are received at the same time; and
(c) how various government departments will complement the intentions of District Councils to use the funds for district minor works projects programme to construct harbourfront cycle tracks, so as to achieve optimum use of resources?
The Government is developing a cycle track network with a total length of about 82 kilometres in the New Territories for enhancing the quality of living as pledged in the Policy Agenda for 2008-09. The Government will also give appropriate consideration to providing cycle tracks and ancillary facilities in planning new towns and new development areas. For instance, the Kai Tak Planning Review proposes the construction of a cycle track of about 6,600 metres in length to link up a multi-purpose stadium complex and various tourist attractions.
My reply to the three-part question is as follows:
(a) The Planning Department will start the Hong Kong Island East Harbourfront Study in mid-2009 for completion in end 2010. The scope of the study will include exploring whether a waterfront promenade can be constructed along the waterfront to connect the proposed waterfront park in Wan Chai Development Phase II in the west and Siu Sai Wan Promenade in the east, as well as whether cycle tracks can be constructed at suitable locations along the promenade. The Planning Department is also conducting the Urban Design Study for the New Central Harbourfront for completion in end 2009 to refine the urban design framework and to prepare planning/design briefs for key sites in the new Central harbourfront. The study also explores proposal for providing an environmentally-friendly transport system in the new harbourfront, including proposals of cycle tracks or electric trolley buses and associated facilities.
(b) Upon receiving proposals for constructing cycle tracks in urban areas, the Government will carefully consider their feasibility. The Government will examine the relevant factors in this process, including compatibility with overall development of the districts and adjacent land uses, ancillary facilities, geographical conditions, road safety, traffic management arrangements and public opinion. If the proposed cycle tracks are found to be feasible, they will usually be implemented through the Public Works Programme. We will examine the justifications for the projects, urgency and cost effectiveness so as to determine their priorities for implementation.
(c) If District Councils intend to fund the development of waterfront cycle tracks through the District Minor Works Programme, I believe the Home Affairs Department which is responsible for coordinating this type of projects will liaise with the relevant Government departments in identifying suitable sites in the planning stage and in offering advice so as to dovetail the proposed cycle tracks with adjacent facilities and land uses thus facilitating optimum use of resources. Upon approval of these projects by District Councils, their design and construction may be undertaken by works agents including term consultants of the Home Affairs Department or relevant works departments of the Government. The relevant Government departments will continue to provide appropriate advice and support during the implementation stage to ensure smooth implementation and appropriate management as well as repair and maintenance of the projects upon completion.
Ends/Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:01