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I love to dream…

January 27th, 2012 | Posted by Nick Andrew in transport - (0 Comments)

Working in the Hopewell Centre in Wanchai, I have to make my way up and down Spring Garden lane every day, along with the many other pedestrians who are winding their way amongst the cars and vans that also use that small lane, and I’ve often thought that there must be a better way.. why do several hundred people have to be pushed to the side of the road so that maybe ten people in cars can get through…?

How much trouble does it really cause if the lane was closed to motorised traffic at least during rush hours so that the people who live and work in wanchai can actually use the space in a much more productive manner than as it is mostly used now.. a temporary car park and exhaust fume collection space that is dangerous for pedestrians.

I was reminded of this dream when I can across this document about designing walkable urban thoroughfares, just released by a new urbanists group (CNU). One day the Hong Kong government have to move forward in their thinking and realise that motorised traffic is not helpful to creating safe spaces and communities for people to enjoy… I hope and dream that it’s sooner rather than later.

The section of the New Territories Cycle Track Network alongside Sai Sha Road (between Sai Kung and Ma On Shan) is now scheduled for completion in 2015 (the timetable has slipped).  It is one of the most anticipated, as this road is a critical link for Sai Kung residents and visitors and – notoriously – is closed to cyclists (from the Tai Mong Tsai roundabout to the restaurants in Nai Chung) on Sundays and public holidays.  (It is narrow too, which in the absence of a culture of road sharing, means it can be less than pleasant to ride.)

But in worrying news, CEDD has apparently decided (or is considering) to delegate construction of a one-kilometre stretch of the cycle track, from Nai Chung to Tai Tung (map), to a developer, Sun Hung Kai, that is building in that area.

What assurances do we have about when this section will open?  And about the track specification?  Why is CEDD not able to retain control?

幾經推遲,政府現計劃於2015年完成沿西沙公路的新界單車網絡(西貢至馬鞍山段)。無疑對於西貢居民或郊遊人士來說,這是最關鍵的一段路,也最值得期待﹔但由大芒仔迴旋處至南涌餐廳的一段,卻以在週日及公眾假期嚴拒單車人士使用而惡名昭著(而且此段路面狹隘,加上沒有共享道路的文化,代表著沿此路騎單車趣味缺缺)。

同時令人擔憂的是,土木工程署已顯然決定(或考慮)將南涌與大洞(地圖)之間一公里的單車徑外判與已在該區域發展中的新鴻基。
試問誰來保證這段路段何時可以開放使用?誰來保證單車徑的建築標準?為甚麼土木工程署總要假手於人、不能保留控制權?

On 12 January, HKCAll took the harbourfront cycleway a step closer to reality with a presentation to the Hong Kong Island Task Force of the Harbourfront Commission.  We showed how the Island Eastern Corridor boardwalk, proposed by Planning Department’s consultant, would be enhanced by and could accommodate the cycleway.

See the HKCAll paper and presentation.

At the end of the meeting, CEDD undertook to incorporate the cycleway into its upcoming initial design consideration for the two-kilometre boardwalk.

 

運輸署剛推出「至fit安全駕駛大行動」,並在其網頁貼出共12頁有關安全駕駛的漫畫,每頁帶出一個訊息,其中有3頁是有關在馬路上的單車,主要是提醒駕駛人士馬路上隨時有單車行駛、要保持距離及互相禮讓。相信這些針對駕駛人士的宣傳教育有助提升騎單車人士在路上的安全,並肯定了單車作為交通工具行駛在馬路上的事實。

The Transport Department has just launched the “Safe Driving Campaign” and posted on its website a total of 12 cartoons on safe driving, each page with a message, of which three are about a bicycle on the road, mainly to remind Minibus drivers traveling on the road to keep their distance and be courteous to each other. We believe that the publicity and education for drivers enhance the safety of cyclists on the road and certainly the promote the use of bicycles as transport on the road.

單車汽車在路上,道路安全靠互諒 / Cars on the road with bicycles, road safety through mutual understanding

單車容易左右擺,保持距離就最佳 / Cyclists are easy to move around, keep a distance from them

單車隨時喺左近,望左望右至穩陣 / Cyclists at junctions. look left, look right to be cautious

 

Bicycle Parking – an update

January 19th, 2012 | Posted by Nick Andrew in parking - (0 Comments)

There has been a small but growing movement of people who are fed up with the lack of bicycle parking in their buildings and are doing something about it!

We have recently heard from the building management people at Legco, that the Tamar building will almost certainly get some bike parking spaces, which is fantastic news and it’s nice to be reminded that cycling in Hong Kong has support from important and influential people.

We have also heard news that the China Resources Building in Wanchai is in the process of installing up to 57 bike parking spaces and 28 bike shower facilities to enable the building to become LEED (sustainable building) accredited. As more and more governments, developers and businesses around the world understand the value of sustainable buildings, increasing numbers of new buildings will look for this type of accreditation. Installing bike parking can help attain the required number of points to attain that accreditation.

Link developments (owners of several shopping malls and car parks, mostly in the new territories) have announced that they want to install bike parking and showers in some of their properties, so that they can attract cycling customers. This is a new approach in Hong Kong, though it has been realised in other places around the world, once businesses understand that people on bikes are customers that are worth attracting.

The cycle.hopewell facebook page has been quiet for a few months, however I expect to be writing a letter again soon to keep the discussion going as we now have two options for the bike parking locations, both within the Hopewell Centre building and some possible locations within Wu Chung House next door.

We have also recently heard from one of the occupants in the ICC building about the difficulties of cycling to work there, and the absolute lack of bicycle parking, including the approach roads often not allowing bicycles.

 

If you are interested in helping out with or starting your own campaign for bike parking in your building, let us know. We can give support, materials, and publicity as necessary.

Do you like the title of the post..?.. I’ve never heard the subject described that way before, but I think it’s a great way to summarize how cyclists feel about arrogant or aggressive drivers. The quote comes from the comment section of the ipayroadtax.com link below, so thanks go to Jack Thurston of The Bike Show podcast.

Don’t forget that here in Hong Kong all of the tax revenue is paid into one big amount, the same way as the UK, and it is then spent where the government decides, so there is no road tax here in Hong Kong also, there is only a vehicle registration and license, and don’t let drivers try to tell you otherwise.

There’s  also a great post and discussion on the subject of  licensing or registering bicycles at ipayroadtax.com. it’s a lot of words, but it’s worth reading.

 

 

A Challenge…

January 5th, 2012 | Posted by Nick Andrew in transport | Transport Department - (1 Comments)

London has been seen in the last few years as a progressive city for cyclists, including many new cycle lanes and superhighways, advance stop lines at junctions, a big bicycle share scheme and awareness campaigns for HGV drivers amongst many various ways that have encouraged cycling and increased safety on the roads. With the massive expansion of cycling in London has been a respective concern for a possible increase in cyclist injuries and fatalities, and yet only 12 cyclists were killed on London’s roads between August 2010 and July 2011.

If we were to compare numbers of cyclists on the road in Hong Kong and London, we could expect to see some proportionality between the numbers killed, and yet Hong Kong had 14 fatalities between January and September only, with far fewer cyclists on its roads…!

I think it’s time to challenge the Hong Kong Government Transport Department to address this by:

  • Educating drivers in the proper way to interact with cyclists
  • Amending Government policy throughout all departments to acknowledge cycling in urban areas  and that cycling as transport already happens
  • Installing a policy within Planning Department  & Development Bureau that takes account of cyclists
  • Using traffic calming measures & signage where appropriate

Hong Kong is known for its progressive stance on many issues, however I feel that cycling has been left behind compared to public opinion and also other cities around the world. These measures would be a big step forward,  and could be the start of something great for the future of Hong Kong.

Nick Andrew

A new report from the Hong Kong Construction Association, working with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Hong Kong, called ‘Visionary Transport Infrastructure Study 2030′, proposes that Hong Kong should become “A City with a Green and Efficient Transport Infrastructure”.

A key element is a policy to promote cycling, along with walking, as transport modes, including:

– proper integrated consideration of cycling in transport planning

– a target modal split for cycling (and one for walking)

– linking districts along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island (this is mentioned under walking but highlights the value of connectivity)

– improved connectivity and management of cycle tracks in new towns

– improved planning, provision and management of cycle parking,

– enhancing education and awareness about cycling

– public cycle hire schemes

 

See the report here:
http://www.hkca.com.hk/front/vitran2030.pdf

 

Hong Kong’s Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) have not been revised in 24 years and exceed the standards recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) by two to four times. This is a serious threat to public health. The Government’s repeated promises to revise the AQOs are belied by its continuing failure to act – for three years, so far.

Clean Air Network (CAN) and Friends of the Earth (HK) are hosting a sign-up petition urging the Government to act now.  All signatures will appear in a full-page spread in a major newspaper and will be compiled and presented to the Environmental Protection Bureau. Many medical, environmental, business, sports and community groups, including HKCAll, are joining to express their concern at our dreadful air pollution.

The petition calls on the government to:

1)      update the Air Quality Objectives, in order to better protect public health;

2)      include fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in its official air quality monitoring;

3)      set up additional protocols to ensure regular review of air quality policy.

Read the Chinese / English official letter, and then, we suggest, sign up at the CAN website or “like” their Facebook page

 

Looking forward to the Hong Kong Public Space Initiative forum coming on the 7th January 2012… it will be a great place to air our views on allowing more access to the harbourfront for cyclists to influential people.

The forum is being conducted in Cantonese, however they are providing simultaneous written interpretation (similar to a subtitle service) through providing each English speaker an electronic device (e.g. iPad/Laptop) connected to our translator’s computer by wifi, then the translator will type the main points raised by speakers to the messenger in real time.

more information here:

Official Event Page (with Registration Form)

Facebook Event Page

If you are interested in joining us there, comment below or send us an email.