Russell Street - the first pedestrian scheme comes true

The opening of the full-time pedestrianised Russell Street today (April 7) marked the completion of first such pedestrian scheme and formed a milestone in the Government's implementation programme, the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Robert Footman, said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony this afternoon, Mr Footman pointed out that many urban roads in Hong Kong were subject to very heavy traffic flow and pedestrian schemes would make the pedestrian environment better.

He said: "These heavily trafficked areas very often face problems of conflicts between vehicles and pedestrian as well as roadside air pollution.

"To alleviate these problems, the Transport Department aims to develop pedestrian schemes in the crowded and more air polluted parts of Hong Kong so as to improve the overall pedestrian environment."

The Commissioner also highlighted that the twin objectives of enhancing road safety and improving the overall environment for pedestrians had been adopted In devising pedestrian schemes.

"In addition to improvement of the general pedestrian environment through beautification of the area and diversion of vehicular traffic to improve the air quality, the schemes also aim to minimize the conflict between pedestrians and vehicular traffic and hence reduce the occurrence of traffic accidents and pedestrian casualties," said Mr Footman.

At present, the most heavily trafficked areas like Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok have been identified as one of the priority areas for implementing the pedestrian schemes. They will be carried out through a step by step approach.

"Once they are operating successfully, they will serve as models for implementing similar schemes in other areas of Hong Kong," he added.

Today's opening ceremony marked the completion of the repaving and beautification work of the section between Percival Street and Lee Garden Road. The section was designated a full-time pedestrian zone last December.

Friday, April 7, 2000