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designing hong kong
The HK$50bln destruction of West Kowloon

Building a third railway station in West Kowloon - we already have Austin Road (West Rail), and Kowloon Station (Airport Express and Tung Chung Line) - is a monumental mistake.

It costs HK taxpayers HK$30bln more than the next best alternative: building an interchange in the New Territories and connect this with Tsing Yi, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island using the Airport Express. The alternative is easier to build, cheaper to use, and saves time for most travelers.

Importantly, concentrating traffic in the West Kowloon cul-de-sac is simply irresponsible. Canton Road and Austin Road junctions are near grid-lock and can never ever be resolved. The 'triple-deck' underground roads planned around the station are expensive (rumoured at HK$8bln) and merely mitigate - but do not solve - the problems.

Finally, the station in West Kowloon will dramatically curtail the master plan for the West Kowloon Cultural District. And that after hiring Rem Koolhaas, Norman Foster and Rocco Yim for an estimated total of HK$300mln to create a world-class cultural destination - the West Kowloon Cultural District.

Madness. And no one dares to tell the boss.

To find out more visit www.beterrail4hk.org

The Express Rail Expert Group consisting of Dr Hung Wing-tat 熊永達, Ir Albert Lai Kwong-tak 黎廣德, Dr Leung Kai-chi , Mr Stanley Ng 永輝, Ms Pong Yuen-ying 龐婉儀, Ir Ronald Taylor 泰萊 and Mr Paul Zimmerman 司馬文 reviewed the problems and developed the alternative proposals with The Professional Commons.

The planned express station in West Kowloon is disconnected from the two existing stations and inconvenient for passengers with luggage.

The express rail tracks extend under the West Kowloon Cultural District and hunder future development above.

The Chief Secretary promised completion of the cultural venues in 2015. However, half of the West Kowloon Cultural District will be used as a construction site for the station till 2015, leaving only the land around the tunnel portal free for the cultural facilities. That land is remote and inconvenient to access for tourists and residents.

The Expert Group solution is cheaper, faster and better: using an interchange in the New Territories to link the China Express passengers into our - extended - local rail network. Passengers who use a car or coach can use the adjacent highway network to access any and all destinations in Hong Kong.

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