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Digital Subscriptions > Cities Today > Issue 24 > Hong Kong evaluates the introduction of a congestion charge

Hong Kong evaluates the introduction of a congestion charge

William Thorpe spoke to Ingrid Yeung, Commissioner for Transport, Hong Kong

Despite building 218 kilometres of cycle paths in the New Territories are you promoting cycling as a form of ‘transport’ rather than ‘recreation’ in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island as well?

The government’s current policy is to foster a ‘bicycle-friendly’ environment where road safety and conditions permit and to promote cycling as a green mode for short-distance commuting to reduce the use of mechanised transport. The road conditions in new towns and new developments are better suited for commuting by cycling. There is also more space available for designation as bicycle parking. In the urban area, cycling is generally permitted except in roads designated as bicycle prohibition zone because of road safety considerations.

However, we do not actively encourage commuting by cycling in the urban area because the roads and footpaths in the urban area are in general congested, making it difficult and not practical to provide extra spaces for segregated cycle paths, unless they are provided at the expense of reducing traffic lanes which would inevitably have a serious traffic impact. In addition, there are frequent kerbside activities such as loading and unloading of goods, as well as picking up and setting down of passengers, in the already congested roads in the urban area. These make it very difficult for cyclists to cycle close to the kerbside while cyclists passing by the temporarily stopped vehicles along the kerbside will have to weave to the outer lane and back. Encouraging cyclists to share our busy roads with other vehicles without providing segregated cycle paths would pose safety concerns, as cyclists are more vulnerable than motorists.

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