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Friday, Jun 02, 2023

Push for bicycle skyways, walkways to be built in tandem with monorail

Push for bicycle skyways, walkways to be built in tandem with monorail

Bicycle skyways and walkways should be built in tandem with a monorail in Kowloon East to cater to residents' needs for an easier commute within the densely populated district, Hong Kong biggest pro-establishment party suggests.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, the chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. Starry Lee Wai-king, said the government's current plan for the monorail, or "elevated trackless rapid transit system," only covers part of the district and cannot meet residents' needs.

She also said the new plan would not be able to support the business district now under construction in Kai Tak, where a light rail project was scrapped, and the construction of 10,000 temporary public housing units in the district would increase the burden on the public transport system.

In January, the Transport Department proposed that the transit system would run from Po Tat via Sau Mau Ping, Shun On, Shun Lee and Choi Wan to Choi Hung East Station. Lee suggested the rail line should be extended to cover areas including Tsz Wan Shan, Diamond Hill and Anderson Road to make the transport system accessible to residents who live further uphill.

She also suggested that authorities add another line branching Southward to Lam Tin and Yau Tong, then to the Kwun Tong Public Pier. The transit system would keep moving toward Kowloon Bay and Kai Tak, then circle back via Kai Tak Sky Garden.

"We can't just focus on residents living uphill, and forget about the people in Kowloon Bay, Kai Tak and the Kwun Tong pier," she said, adding that connecting East Kowloon with the transit system would bring the most benefit to citizens.

Lee also told reporters those suggestions, meant to optimize the impact of the transit system, were accepted by former chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's administration, but budgetary issues stood in the way.

The idea of a transit system was first proposed in the government's 2014 Railway Development Strategy. But in October 2022, the government proposed using an elevated trackless rapid system with enhanced climbing capabilities as an alternative to the MTR's underground heavy rail system, with the feasibility study slated for completion next month.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on a Shenzhen tour last month he would keep an open mind about adopting Shenzhen-based BYD's driverless battery-powered SkyShuttle in Hong Kong, with DAB lawmakers in agreement. But engineers said it would not be feasible, given the lack of space.

Encouraging "green commute," the party also proposed building a bicycle skyway and elevated walkways to complement the transit system's elevated design - a project that could apparently take reference from the Tseung Kwan O Cross Bay Link, which is a carriageway also equipped with a bike lane and pedestrian walkways.

Lee also suggested auxiliary facilities such as bicycle parking racks near the stations.
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