SCMP Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Lan Kwai Fong to be car-free for peak hours and holidays


Lan Kwai Fong, one of the territory's busiest nightlife districts, is to be pedestrianised part-time from next month.
Pedestrians only will be allowed in Lan Kwai Fong, Wo On Lane and part of D'Aguilar Street in Central between 4pm and midnight from Friday to Sunday and on public holidays, from the start of next month.
The streets are home to dozens of bars and nightclubs where hundreds of revellers gather every night. A study commissioned by the Transport Department found that about 2,800 people fill Lan Kwai Fong during evening peak hours.
Senior transport engineer David Chan Gin-wing said if the scheme worked it could be extended to start at noon and run seven days a week.
However, he ruled out extending the operating hours to beyond midnight to cater for late-night drinkers in the area.
"We don't want too much variation on part-time pedestrian schemes. At present, such schemes are mainly set from 4pm to midnight. If the operating hours for each area are different, it will create confusion," Mr Chan said.
Nearby Chiu Lung Street will become a full-time pedestrian street at the same time, following Theatre Lane's lead earlier this year, he said.
In Shamshuipo, traffic will be barred from sections of Apliu Street, where cheap electrical goods are sold, and Fuk Wa Street between Kweilin Street and Nam Cheong Street from noon to 9pm every day, starting tomorrow.
About 5,500 and 3,000 people use the two streets respectively each hour at peak times.
The latest pedestrian schemes follow those in Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok, which have been in place since last year. Similar schemes in Wan Chai and Jordan are planned for next year.
Meanwhile, new traffic arrangements will come into effect in Causeway Bay from October 18. They include relocating the loading area outside Windsor House in Great George Street to Paterson Street outside Pearl City Mansion.
The department also proposes widening the pavement in Lockhart Road, East Point Road and Great George Street.