June 22, 2006

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Donald Tsang today paid special praise to Hong Kong's traffic network, believing that Hong Kong's competitive advantage comes from its traffic network.

I don't dispute that efficiency is key to Hong Kong's success. But it seems to me that sort of thinking, and the free rein government gives to the traffic and roads planning department, is the reason that all city planning is led by the nose by the road builders. That's why we have the most beautiful harbour in the world yet don't have a harbourfront promenade worth walking down. It's why a small proposed park in Wanchai will only be accessible through an underpass, and the initial plans for a park on the Central waterfront will not be put on top of buildings. That's also why streetside road pollution continues to clog our lungs.

I fear when reading this article that the top leadership of Hong Kong still haven't gotten the message - that the road planners cannot any longer be the key determinants of how our city looks. If anyone can refute my pessimism, please indulge me.

posted by HK Dave on 06.22.06 at 03:27 PM in the Hong Kong category.


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Hong Kong SAR government has a deal with some French or Dutch company to create ''smart'' traffic patterns. They are looking to install electronic devices that monitor traffic and help regulate flow based on limiting traffic patterns. see more with the internet functional constituency legislator.

posted by: doug on 06.23.06 at 06:13 PM [permalink]

I think that we should remember that HK has come leaps and bounds in terms of environmental awareness. I grew up in HK in the days before daily API indices that 'informed you when you should avoid those roadside stations' and have to say that things have gotten much better.

The harbor in particular has cleaned up immeasurably, no doubt thanks to lobbying on the part of NGO's. The pessimism isn't unfounded, but the opportunity for progress does exist. When society at large considers it a big enough problem, the gears of change will click. Hope it's sooner rather than later.

posted by: Ajay on 07.12.06 at 08:01 PM [permalink]

I think that one reason we do have daily API indices is because the pollution here has gotten so much worse since when you were growing up!

The harbour is cleaner, but 30% of the effluents being pumped into the harbour every day are still untreated.

Hong Kong has a long ways to go before it can pat itself on the back and say that it is being proactive about pollution. Allowing its traffic department to lead the city's development efforts is most certainly not the way forward.

posted by: HK Dave on 07.13.06 at 07:44 AM [permalink]

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