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HKCAll response 00

單車團體過去多次要求開放巿區禁止單車的關鍵路段,而今日在運輸署與單車團體的會議上,討論了由顧問公司(Atkins)做的有關BPZ(Bike Prohibition Zone)的「檢討」(現有單車限制區檢討Review of Existing Bicycle Prohibition Zones)(下稱「檢討」),而香港單車同盟的專業工程師做了十分詳盡及有力的回應,指出整個Atkins研究的方法及錯誤引用的圖表資料,充滿了誤導。例如引用的澳洲指引(Austroad Guide)其中一個圖表,原本是關於設計單車徑時,上斜坡度及長度對踩單車的「舒適度」的影響,和「安全」及「禁止」單車完全無關,但「檢討」卻是誤用來作為禁止單車的根據。又例如以高車速及車流作為單車「不適合與一般車輛混合」的理據,但其實真相是圖表原本是表示應該如何選擇最適當的單車基建,(是否適合建單車徑?還是單車行車線道?還是和汽車共用同一路面?)如果車速高及車流大,最好就是為巿民提供單車徑,和禁止單車剛好是相反的意思,但這「檢討」卻說成是禁止單車的理據,與其說這是誤導,甚至也可以說是「失實」。

而如果「檢討」真正落實,香港所有現時禁止單車的路段將會繼續被禁止,這將無助推動單車友善城巿,反而是以錯誤的方法為禁止單車捏造出看似合理的根據。

另外,「檢討」會咨詢其他所謂持分者例如區議會及汽車、的士等團體對單車限制區檢討的意見,這也是多此一舉及只會製造問題。由幾時開始,單車限制要咨詢汽車團體?又是否考慮設立小巴禁區、的士禁區時也要咨詢單車團體?

香港單車同盟建議在考慮單車在馬路的使用時,應該仿傚各國的單車友善做法,明確肯定現時單車的路權,香港所有道路也應允許騎單車(除高速公路,並根據適用的法律和法規指定的隧道),而如果在某些位置需要禁止單車行駛,必需要提出給公眾每個禁止的合理理由。

橋樑和地下通道是重要的交通連接,本身並沒有必然的危險性。在大多數情況及默認情況下,應該開放給所有交通。而任何的約束也應該考慮到單車的正常駛用。
參考:「現有單車限制區檢討Review of Existing Bicycle Prohibition Zones」
詳細回應:Cycling is Permitted Feedback on Atkins Study by HKCAll

In a rather interesting speech, from an urban mobility point of view, the Secretary for Transport & Housing, Prof Anthony Cheung, has described Hong Kong’s transport policy as “Public Transportation Plus”, which he explains as “public transport complemented by walkability and cycling-friendly measures”. He was talking to an international conference on walking and liveable communities but even so, is this a change? a real thing?

(It’s worth reading in full)

Prof Cheung begins by wondering “whether we have become too dependent on mechanised transport to the extent of creating all kinds of social problems, including human interface, perhaps. And there are problems associated with road congestion and carbon emissions.”

So he’s identified the problem. Not a bad start for the guy supposedly in charge of our transport policy.

After presenting the Government’s “railway as backbone” policy and (justifiably) trumpeting the high modal share (90%) of public transport, Prof Cheung adds rather too much about the constraints the government works under, in a tone of “we’re trying but it’s re-eally too hard to expect real change”.

His mobility solutions focus initially much on walkability, defining it in positive terms but not breaking new ground.

He seemingly endorses a statement that one can walk three kilometres – three MTR stops – through Central, at walkway level above the roads, which isn’t true, is it? (I don’t walk much; cycling is so much easier.) And there’s the obligatory reference to the Mid-levels escalator. (He says that “Some densely populated districts in Hong Kong are .. situated in hilly places”. But I can’t think of any, other than Mid-levels. Echoes of the “HK is too mountainous for cycling” meme.) He talks glowingly about pedestrianised streets but then hints at the fact that some are being withdrawn (allegedly after someone complained).

Selected other interesting admissions, claims and policy positions:

  • Rush-hour speed on some main roads is only 10 km/h
  • Building more roads brings more traffic, and more environmental problems [True, of course]
  • Government policy is to “discourage the use of private cars” [I’m not sure I’ve seen evidence of that, unless you count ‘affordable public transport’]
  • Hong Kong was rated “the most walkable” city of China (by NRDC) [not all agree]
  • Hong Kong is always rainy and hot [oh yeah, right]
  • “In the past, cycling was only considered to be something for leisure. But nowadays, we regard it as a form of short-distance green commuting.” [still with caveats, and not quite the first time it’s been said, but still good to hear.]
  • still discouraging cycling in the urban areas “for safety reasons” and apparently not challenging that situation
  • we need a mindset change in the community .. as much as .. among policymakers ..to move away from an unduly vehicular-based or biased mobility perspective. [Well, yes.., but does that mean you’re waiting for the public to change first? What happened to leadership?]

Now for the part that, arguably, talks up cycling.

Prof Cheung says “We also need diversity in our mobility system to cater for different travel needs.  Hence, we promote walking and cycling as a mode of short-distance commuting through the provision of pedestrian walkways and cycle tracks.” Not quite committing to a six percent bike mode share by 2020 [as New York has] but at least he flew to Vienna to talk about cycling in Hong Kong.

He goes on to say that motorists, pedestrians and cyclists compete for road space (and always will). Taking that positively, I see an endorsement of our right to use even busy roads. Of course that’s always been true, but many in HK don’t get it. On the other hand, it suggests no interest in pushing back against the ‘competition’ of (some) aggressive people in a ton of armoured motor vehicle against others, more vulnerable, who are making a net positive contribution to society.

Another quote: “we seek to improve our public transport system complemented with suitable walkability and cycling measures”. Yeah, well, ‘suitable’ is another weasel word, but he said ‘cycling’. Several times.

Notably, he defined the New Territories Cycle Track Network as “so that the public can cycle for both commuting and leisure”, which is new – it’s always been described as for leisure and recreation. What’s left of it, and if it ever gets built.

Overall, there are warm and quite strong generalities about cycling and especially walking, though without any new specifics. This Secretary for Transport and Housing is reportedly more favourable to cycling than the Transport Department under him and this speech includes some pleasantly surprising facts and statements. Given the paucity of good news coming out of this government, I’m prepare to see a glass that’s, if not half-full, then at least providing a few refreshing sips.

 

The speech is available here.

香港城市單車騎行問卷調查

你好!我們是賽馬會低碳創聚的單車創新小組,宗旨為推廣香港單車騎行,成員由香港單車同盟3+1單車同學會及幾位單車愛好者組成。

單車有著隨騎即行、靈活、環保低碳、佔用路面空間少等優點,在其他國家,如荷蘭、德國、美國紐約等大行其道,同時亦有以單車代替公共交通的趨勢。

 

我們希望透過這份問卷收集香港居民對於巿區騎行的看法及意見,同時召集更多有心人關注城市單車騎行相關議題。以下請你用3分鐘時間完成問卷,讓我們了解並分析騎行人士的看法及意見。

Questionnaire on Cycling in Hong Kong

Hi! We are a bike InnoTeam from the Jockey Club CarbonCare Open Innovation Lab (JCCOIL) formed by Hong Kong Cycling Alliance (HKCAll), 3+1 Cycling Group and cycling enthusiasts.

Bike has the merit of hop-and-ride, high manoeuvrability, environmental friendly, use less road space, and more. There is a trend for countries and cities like the Netherlands, Germany and New York to replace public transport by cycling.

 

We hope to collect views and opinions from you all who residents in Hong Kong on cycling in urban area. Meanwhile, we would like to call for attention from public on this topic. This questionnaire will take you about 3 minutes to complete, we will use such data collected for our analysis on cyclists views and opinions.

 

中文版

https://goo.gl/3qr04x

 

English version

https://goo.gl/ghQIbt

report最近紐約巿交通當局於2014年9月發表了一個報告,證明了在巿區建單車徑/單車行車線有助減少汽車行車時間,在巿區鼓勵用單車實際上方便了駕駛人仕。

香港交通諮詢委員會也於12月30日向運輸及房屋局提交了《香港道路交通擠塞研究報告》http://www.thb.gov.hk/tc/boards/transport/land/Full-Chi_C_cover.pdf(下簡稱《報告》),《報告》的第三章是有關現時處理道路交通擠塞的措施,其中3.4.5段:「有些人提倡以單車替代機動交通工具。儘管騎單車有環保效益,但本港市區道路普遍擠迫和繁忙,加上上落客貨活動頻繁,實在難以在不影響交通或道路使用者安全的情況下,在市區騰出合適地方興建單車徑。在行車道上騎踏單車的人士,亦會較容易因交通意外而受傷。2013年間,便有超過1 000宗涉及單車在行車道上發生的交通意外。因此,政府一般不鼓勵市民在市區以單車作為交通工具。相對於市區,交通流量密度較低的新市鎮或新發展區,較有條件讓單車作短途代步。就此,政府一直致力在新市鎮及新發展區締造「單車友善環境」,通過發展新的單車徑網絡和改善現有單車徑及單車停泊設施等,讓市民可以單車作短途代步或康樂用途。

以上的文字當然是我們耳熟能詳的政府反對單車作巿區交通的藉口,但作為一個研究交通擠塞的報告,當全世界各大小城巿大力推動單車特別是公共單車系統以協助解決交通擠塞問題,這報告竟然對單車解決交通擠塞的貢獻隻字不提,只引述政府的立場,口徑完全一致,而整個報告完全忽視如何發展單車這可持續的交通工具,本同盟對於這報告明顯的遺漏十分失望。

《報告》另一處有提及單車的地方,是:「4.6.13 泊車轉乘設施亦可提供予單車使用者,鼓勵他們接駁公共交通。工作小組知悉政府一直在新市鎮及新發展區的公共運輸交滙處和港鐵站附近提供單車泊位。小組建議政府在可行的情況下繼續加強這方面的工作。」這也是政府的老生常談,但卻是做得很少,其實不單在新市鎮及新發展區單車泊位不足,巿區跟本連合法單車泊位也是極之罕有或者欠奉。

而《報告》中應該提及單車的地方卻總是忽略了單車的存在,在4.3的問卷中問到巿民是否贊成政府給予某些交通工具優先使用道路權利,單車在問卷中被完全忽略,問卷未開始已經否定了單車是交通工具之一,這與單車在香港是合法交通工具的現況完全不乎,連在道路使用權的問卷問一下單車也好像是個禁忌似的,這是什麼交通報告?!是政府預設了否定單車作為交通工具的框架下的報告?報告對應用單車在可持續交通的期盼也完全沒有,可說連「袋住先」也說不上。單車作交通工具不單是「單車界」的事,是關乎城巿可持續發展的事,交通擠塞正為城巿的可持續性響起了警號,為何仍不向單車這最有效卻最可持續的交通工具找答案呢?
《報告》的結論指出:「香港是世界級的城市,一直竭力維持和提升競爭力。交通便利與否和空氣質素是兩項重要而相關的指標,用以界定一個城市是否適宜居住和具吸引力。因此,工作小組籲請社會各界人士齊心協力解決道路交通擠塞,維持香港的競爭力。」試問世界上有什麼交通工具比單車更便利並且對空氣質素最有益?

最後,可能有人以為單車在馬路上會阻礙汽車,甚至使塞車情況惡化,香港單車同盟曾經有一篇文章單車阻慢交通嗎?Are bicycles slowing down traffic?)作出了分析,也值得大家參考。
其實汽車才是塞車的原因,而政府在路面交通上以汽車主導,並以滿足駕駛人仕的需求為己任,處處為駕駛人仕著想解決問題,為保持汽車駕駛暢順及方便而用盡資源增加汽車可用的路面及便利,變相鼓勵使用私家車,這才是真正容讓塞車及廢氣破壞這城巿的主因。

幾個月之前本網站做了一個有關日本單車友善的圖片報導,而日本京都在最近一次的單車友善排名全球第二,相信日本京都一定有值得觀摩及取經之處;筆者最近就親身體驗了在京都踩單車的情況,讓我報導一下:

 

京都有好幾家出租單車的公司,我用的這家叫Kyoto Eco Trip,能說一口流利英語的員工Ayako非常細心協助我們及講解在京都踩單車要注意的事情。背後的是電力輔助單車,在京都也見到不少人使用↓

IMG_20141119_091916

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

在日本(包括京都),在行人路上踩單車是合法及一貫的做法,而我所看到的單車徑/專用道,都在行人路上,(攝於五条通)↓

DSC09682

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

而路上無專用單車徑時,踩單車的人就和行人共享空間。↓

DSC09651

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

停泊單車的情況

路旁、大廈、商店及住宅都不難發現單車停泊設施↓

DSC08785

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

商廈外的單車停泊設施↓

DSC09295

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

住宅單車停泊設施↓

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而把單車隨便停在路邊,單車有可能被移走,車主要前往指定的地點交罰款2300日元取回單車。↓

DSC09659

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

放在違規停泊單車上的提示↓

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除了可以在行人路及單車徑踏,還可以選擇在馬路上踏單車。↓

DSC09725

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

公共單車

京都巿的公共單車,租金500日元2小時,1000日元24小時↓

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總的來說,京都雖然是汽車主導馬路的城巿,但因為有深厚的單車文化,及對使用單車者的尊重,並且讓單車可以和行人共享行人路,以致巿民可以方便及安全地用單車代步,在京都很常見到一般巿民、學生、長者、婦女使用單車代步,相反,穿著單車衣載頭盔的單車運動愛好者卻不常見到。

最近無線電視明珠台製作了一個有關京都單車文化的節目,值得一看:

http://mytv.tvb.com/news/pearlreport/193520

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protected Intersections For Bicyclists from Nick Falbo on Vimeo.

 

Protected bike lanes are the latest approach US cities are taking to help their residents get around by bike. But these protected lanes lose their buffer separation at intersections, reducing the comfort and safety for people riding. What the protected bike lane needs is the protected intersection. This proposal for the George Mason University 2014 Cameron Rian Hays Outside the Box Competition presents a vision for a safe, clear intersection design that improves conditions for all users. Proper design of refuge islands, crossing position and signal timing can create a safe intersection that people of all ages and abilities would feel safe in.

Learn more online at ProtectedIntersection.com

In Legco yesterday, the tourism industry rep, YIU Si Wing (姚思榮) asked Transport and Housing Bureau if it was/would:

(a) extend the cycle track network to former Frontier area;
(b) develop cycle tracks on the harbourfront;
(c) set up a public bicycle hiring system
(d) promote cycling tourism

Responses from Anthony Cheung, the Secretary for Transport and Housing, were, in summary:

a) yes, perhaps;
b) [ignored question];
c) no; and
d) ‘yes’ [but actually only trivially]

The first ‘perhaps’ is worth noting: about cycle tracks going into the former Frontier Closed Area.  All leisure cycle tracks are a plus for Hong Kong, though we need to keep pointing out that they are merely a feature, and certainly not the sum total of cycling here, as TD likes to pretend.  So half a cheer for that ‘perhaps’.

Regarding public bicycle rental systems, the Secretary referred to the TD study that was finally released earlier this year (“Traffic and Transport Consultancy Study on Cycling Networks and Parking Facilities in Existing New Towns in Hong Kong“), which was overly narrow in scope, two years late, trivial in its analysis and negative or inconclusive on the issues it was supposed to study.

Based on that, he rejected any kind of public bicycle rental system (referring to new towns, and ignoring everywhere else), because a) it needs many nodes; b) it requires some load balancing between nodes (moving bikes around to meet need); c) maintenance of bikes; d) existing private rental services “can already meet demand”; e) Hong Kong’s land resources are too limited to provide public rental points.

What a load of tripe!  Firstly, there are also excellent potential locations for a public bike share scheme outside the new towns, such as in Kai Tak Development / CBD2, West Kowloon, along the new NT Cycle Track Network, and of course, along the Harbourfront Cycleway (when we ultimately force it into existence).

His responses a), b) and c) simply cite characteristics of a public bicycle rental system, no different from those handled by the 500+ (and rapidly rising) schemes around the world, especially in mainland China.  Along with response e), he’s peddling the old canard that Hong Kong is so special that the rest of the world can teach us nothing.  And finally, by citing existing rental he is missing the whole value of a network of pick-up and drop-off points. (actually ‘protecting’ the business of a handful of operators, who’d probably anyway benefit from the upsurge in interest, if only they could adapt to it.)

The question about developing cycle tracks along the harbourfront was flatly ignored.  How can a government minister do that?  Didn’t the THB read the question?  Does it think no one will notice?  Or does it simply have no respect for Legco and not care who knows?

All in all, the Secretary’s reply showed that our government still doesn’t ‘get’ cycling, or its obligation to work for us.

More work to do.

See:
Press release, with full text

Blogpost about cycle tracks (‘我們的單車徑’) by Secretary for Development Paul Chan (陳茂波),
22 Sept 2013 (Chinese only)

 

 

去年(2012)介紹過台北巿鼓勵巿民及遊客使用單車的設施;今年(2013)再往台灣,發現比之前更進步了:也是問香港運房局這一句,台灣可以,為何香港不可以? 看看台灣怎樣好待單車吧!而即使這樣,台灣還未能打入哥本哈根單車友善指數地區的頭二十位呢!加油啊中華民國!香港,是否還要拒絕投入這改善城巿的運動?

自強號列車上為擺放單車而設的車卡

自強號列車上為擺放單車而設的車卡

自強號列車上為擺放單車而設的車卡

自強號列車上為擺放單車而設的車卡 

台北捷運站有清楚表示讓單車由頭或尾車卡進入捷運

台北捷運站有清楚表示讓單車由頭或尾車卡進入捷運

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(上圖)台鐵自強號列車上有一整個車卡是用來擺放單車的;而台北捷運站有清楚表示讓單車由頭或尾車卡進入捷運(當然,人家是不用拆下前輪的!那有在香港要拆卸前輪才能入閘的歪理?!也哪有不拆前輪會被其他單車友拍照放上網受網絡公審的怪現象?!要注意,台北的捷運也不是乘客量少的)

台北巿(西門)的單車和行人共享路面

台北巿(西門)的單車和行人共享路面

行人優先,路權清楚

行人優先,路權清楚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

台北巿(西門)的單車和行人共享路面,行人優先,路權清楚,互相禮讓,又為何不可以在行人路上踏單車代步?!鼓勵單車代步不一定要劃出完全分隔的3.5米寬「單車徑」的!

 

微笑單車U-bike(公共單車租借系統)

微笑單車U-bike(公共單車租借系統) 

泊單車的位置分佈於路邊各處,十分方便

泊單車的位置分佈於路邊各處,十分方便

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

去年還只有信義區才有的微笑單車U-bike(公共單車租借系統),現在於西門町(相當於香港的旺角區)也可以看到;馬路上也會遇到用微笑單車來代步的巿民,而泊單車的位置分佈於路邊各處,十分方便,而好像看不到有長期佔用泊位的廢車及手推車,看!還有空置泊位呢!

 

頭城(宜蘭縣)的單車行車道

頭城(宜蘭縣)的單車行車道

「鐵馬驛站」為長途單車客提供厠所、食水、工具及充氣等支援

「鐵馬驛站」為長途單車客提供厠所、食水、工具及充氣等支援

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

頭城(宜蘭縣)的單車行車道及由宜蘭市政府辦的「鐵馬驛站」為長途單車客提供厠所、食水、工具及充氣等支援;單車環台看到「鐵馬驛站」能不感動嗎?

 

日月潭的單車徑旁的讓單車推上樓梯的斜道

日月潭的單車徑旁的讓單車推上樓梯的斜道 

日月潭的單車徑已入選為世界十大最美麗單車徑之一

日月潭的單車徑已入選為世界十大最美麗單車徑之一

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(左圖)這是什麼?是位於日月潭的單車徑旁的讓單車推上樓梯的斜道。 你知道日月潭的單車徑已入選為世界十大最美麗單車徑之一嗎?香港單車同盟建議的港島北海濱單車走廊如果成真的話,說不定也可以入選呢! 台灣可以,為何香港不可以?

DSC02377

高雄巿捷運對帶單車的告示

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

高雄巿捷運對帶單車的告示,大意就是要為他人著想吧。(為人著想不包括要像港鐵般要求拆除前輪呢!)

Tung Chung New Town Extension Study – Stage 2 Public Engagement

Planning Department and CEDD are preparing to expand Tung Chung.  But despite the existing popularity of cycling in the town, cycling and cycle tracks are downplayed.  (There are bike icons on the cover, and a mention of ‘cycle tracks along the waterfront promenade’, but nothing in the planning principles or other important parts of the document.)

We need to make sure that cycling is integrated into the heart of planning of new Tung Chung, to all destinations.  That includes roads and tracks that facilitate getting efficiently around the area by bike, parking (residential and spread across district).

First, see the Stage 1 study (you may need to use Internet Explorer to view it properly)

How to get involved, under the Stage 2 Public Engagement:

(1) ‘Community Workshop
22 June 2013 (Saturday), 2:00pm – 5:30pm (need to pre-register by 20 June)
Venue: HK Federation of Education Workers Wong Cho Bau Secondary School (map)

(2) ‘Public Forum’

13 July 2013 (Saturday), 2:00pm – 5:30pm (need to pre-register by 11 July)
Venue: HK Federation of Education Workers Wong Cho Bau Secondary School (map)

(It’s not clear what happens at these two events, or the difference between them)

(3) Make a written submission, either via their dull form (eg. ‘Do you want continuous walkways?’) with options to write your own answers;

OR just write to PlanD and CEDD, at:
skisdpo@pland.gov.hk and tungchung@cedd.gov.hk (deadline: 21 July – but do it now!)

Please email us at info@hkcyclingalliance.org if you’re going to a public meeting. If you write, please cc us.

You can phone them at:
PlanD: Sai Kung and Islands Districts Planning Office, 2158 6177 (fax: 2367 2976)
CEDD: HK Island and Islands Development Office, 2231 4408 (fax: 2577 5040)

The Stage One study

The Stage One study includes decorative icons and images of bikes, and mentions cycle tracks in the text.  But why isn’t cycling among the planning principles or the transport section, and why are there no details at all of the ‘cycle tracks’ – they’re not even shown on the map?  What are we being offered?

Cycling should be at the heart of the new Tung Chung, not merely window dressing.

Although the ‘cycling is leisure’ mantra is not trumpeted in this study, government is still very reluctant to recognise cycling as transport, let alone integrate it into planning.  So cycling is mentioned (even ‘commuting’, slightly), to look good, but actually left vague.   Without a firm commitment to build Tung Chung around cycling connectivity, we’ll end up with the same old disjointed, badly designed paths and no supporting effort to promote and enable functional cycling.

Don’t believe the pretty pictures; look at the text.

In the study’s 15 pages, here is what we get:

  • 海濱長廊及連綿的公園都會附設單車徑,以推廣單車成為區內的環保交通工具 Provide cycle tracks along the waterfront promenade and linear parks to promote cycling as a green commuting tool in Tung Chung

[what about cycling everywhere else? tracks can be good, and people cycle on roads and mixed-use area too.  So enable cycle traffic flow – no pointless barriers or dismount signs.  Encourage sensible sharing of space.  ]

  • 主要交通及社區設施附近提供足夠單車泊位以鼓勵居民使用單車 Provide adequate cycle parking space near major transport and community facilities to encourage cycling

[But people need to park at any locality, not just large bike parks at major facilities.  What about local parking near any shops or other places people go?  Eg. enable individual parking at most lampposts, signposts and railings.]

 

After three years, Transport Department has casually put up on its website the ‘Nine Towns Study’ that it has been promising for so long:
Traffic and Transport Consultancy Study on Cycling Networks, Parking Facilities in Existing New Towns in Hong Kong

I’ve not had time to read it all yet, but, like the interim reports, the result seems underwhelming.  It only ever tried to look at cycle tracks and a few specific facilities in new towns, not general cycling on roads and the cycling environment as a whole.  Or planning ahead for New Development Areas.  And I note that the original scope has been cut, with no sign of the promised “conceptual improvement layout plan for each new town”.

On parking, it notes that there is not enough designated parking (that took three years to work out?) but the discussion quickly drops into TD’s favourite issue of what style of parking facility to buy, rather than, say, how to measure and determine where parking is necessary, especially small-scale distributed parking, away from the obvious MTR locations.  (Cyclehoop, anybody?)

The issue of poor connectivity of tracks is identified, which is good, but this problem will never be successfully addressed until we aim to maximise throughflow of bike traffic — as in, prioritising cyclists wherever possible, and certainly wherever bikes are the major flow.  No mention of that here.

The proposals, within this narrow remit, seem mostly small-scale and unimaginative.  So we have a three-year, multi-million-dollar report suggesting things like:

  • put up plastic bollards in place of steel – to reduce injury severity (already TD’s plan, when they should be removed entirely to .. er .. eliminate the injuries altogether);
  • paint markings to guide cyclists away from obstacles (just a stopgap: where are the planning guidelines for obstacle-free cycleways?);
  • paint track surface colours to show trunk and local routes (irrelevant if tracks are still used by commuters, wobblers, sports riders, and kids, with no policy consideration of who and what the tracks are for. Or real training.)
  • lots of soft padding on things in the way, such as newly erected poles carrying mirrors.
  • installing railings designed to make parking your bike harder (when it’s not even an offence to park a bike on a footway, central reserve, verge, hard shoulder etc, if no danger or actual obstruction is caused).

Of course, the study makes a number of valid points and raises genuine issues.  In particular, it presses for tracks to be connected at various places where currently there are gaps (and recognises that this will involve rebalancing some priorities). It also calls for the implementation of shared footpaths; improved signage and surface markings; cyclist access to leisure facilities (ie. everywhere managed by LCSD); and having Highways Dept staff cycle the tracks at night to determine lighting needs. Many specific problem locations on tracks are enumerated.

If the government, starting with TD, intends to act positively, the study could point towards some modest improvements for cyclists in the new towns.

However, in essence, by looking only at cycle tracks, with no assessment of wider transport policy, patterns of cycle journeys made, and aspirations among cyclists and potential cyclists, it was never going to offer a strategy for more effectively incorporating cycling into our communities.  Then by proposing largely what TD is already thinking (or has done!) – minor capital expenditure that tinkers with existing infrastructure, and no solid planning basis for avoiding the same mistakes in future – it falls sadly flat.

More detailed comment will follow.

You can read the report here:
http://www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/en/publication/td_194_2009_es_eng.pdf