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designing hong kong
Do we need more cars on our roads, or do we need more space for people to walk? 

Overloading Hong Kong’s road network

After overloading our hospitals, our Government is now looking to overload our road network with cross-boundary vehicles and this will affect far more people than the shortage of maternity ward beds.


Hong Kong has a short 2,000km road network with the highest density of vehicles only after Monaco. Over 3 decades we carefully crafted a transport policy with rail as the backbone to steer the city clear of the grid lock it suffered in the 1970s. The number of vehicles has been stable in Hong Kong, except for the private cars which have jumped by 20% over the last five years. As a result traffic congestion is increasing and the average journey speed has dropped to 24.9km in Kowloon and 21.3km on Hong Kong Island.


With the decision to build a cheap vehicle-only bridge rather than a rail link to Macao and Zhuhai, the pressure is on to open up Hong Kong to the mainland’s large fleet of vehicles. Once the bridge opens the design capacity of border crossings will be 157,500 vehicles every day compared with the 433,202 (2011) private cars licensed in Hong Kong.

決定興建一條只供汽車行駛(而並不提供往珠海和澳門的鐵路服務)的港珠澳大橋,等同開放香港予內地大量的車輛,為香港交通構成沉重壓力。根據大橋設計的承載力,一旦開放大橋予過境車輛,它將為香港帶來每日157,500輛的車輛,或者為2011年香港私家車牌照的3分之1,即 433,202輛汽車。

Mainland private cars and coaches will join the queues of vehicles trying to get into Mong Kong, the tip of Kowloon, Hung Hom, Kowloon Bay, North Point, Causeway Bay, Wanchai, Central, Sheung Wan, Repulse Bay and Stubbs Road. Building more highways and bypasses in and to Hong Kong will add more cars faster to these queues as we simply can’t absorb more cars in our dense urban areas.

內地私家車及巴士將會使現時嘗試進入旺角、九龍、紅磡、九龍灣、北角、銅鑼灣、灣仔、中環、上環、淺水灣及司徒拔道的車龍變得更加長。我們的稠密市區已不能吸納更多的車輛,建設更多的公路及繞道只會令車輛更快到達 “龍尾”排隊。
Touring visitors may not mind being stuck in traffic while sightseeing, but Hong Kong residents will pay the price as they will have to spend more time in traffic just to get essential things done: doctor visits, helping out family, being in time for exams, .. More importantly, every day 80% of Hong Kong’s residents walk to transport, work, school, and shopping, and that will become even less convenient.

遊客在觀光時當然未必介意被堵塞於公路,但港人卻要為此付出代價,花費更多時間去處理一些基本事宜:看醫生,處理家庭事務,預留到達試場的交通時間…… 更重要的是,80%的香港市民每天都要步行去乘坐交通工具、工作、學校,甚至購物。

To cater for more vehicles so–called road improvements will further deteriorate the walkability of Hong Kong. Forget pavement widening or adding footpaths, Hong Kong will see more street crossings removed, and more guard railings, footbridges and subways built to stop pedestrians from impeding the flow of traffic, all resulting in crowding of pavements, mind numbing tunnels, detours and level changes, and more roadside air and noise pollution.

「自駕遊」只會令情況變得更加不便。為容納日漸增多的車輛數目,可見的”道路改善工程”只會惡化香港行人道路的可行性。路面的橫過馬路設施將會被移除,路面擴闊工程及改善行人路斷續問題將會被徹底遺忘。取而代之的是更多的欄杆、行人天橋及隧道,以避免行人影響交通路面的流暢度。以上的種種都會嚴重影響行人步行的舒適度: 行人路擁擠,使人麻木的隧道,迂迴曲折的路徑、路面水平的改變,以及日益嚴重的路邊空氣及噪音污染。 在香港發動的「蝗蟲」實指那些內地的車輛,而不是內地人。只基於旅遊業利益作出發點的交通政策極為短視,當決策者離職後,此措施仍然活像一種具侵略性昆蟲,嚴重危害社會健康。

Mainland vehicles, not mainlanders, are the problem. The short sighted policy of vehicle-based tourism is an invasive pest that will harm this city well after the powers who decided to do so have left office. Differentiation of local and non-resident vehicles is done in other cities by having different parking charging schemes for residents. That may not be feasible in Hong Kong where most off-street parking is owned privately.

在香港發動的「蝗蟲」實指那些內地的車輛,而不是內地人。只基於旅遊業利益作出發點的交通政策極為短視,當決策者離職後,此措施仍然活像一種具侵略性昆蟲,嚴重危害礡 會健康。 在其他城市,採用不同的停泊收費計劃為主要的方法以分別本地和非本地的車輛。但這個方法不適用於香港,因為香港大部份的停車場皆為私人物業。

The alternative for Hong Kong is to use electronic road pricing and to give mainland drivers a strong financial incentive to park their car at the border crossing and to ride public transport. To make Hong Kong livable and to minimize the cost for residents, we need a system in place for managing the fleet of cars using our roads, before we open the borders to more cars from the Mainland.


Paul Zimmerman 司馬文
CEO Designing Hong Kong Limited

Do we need more cars on our roads, or do we need clean air for people to breathe?
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