Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has announced a series of plans to make Hong Kong more walkable and bicycle-friendly.
During Wednesday’s Policy Address, Leung said the government will be fostering a pedestrian-friendly environment and promoting a new “Walk in HK” plan.
The plan will involve enhancing pedestrian networks, providing a safe pedestrian environment and user-friendly information on walking routes, and “making walking a pleasant experience.” The Transport and Housing Bureau will be responsible for implementing these new measures, Leung said.
Leung also suggested implementing more hillside escalator or elevator systems. He said the government will make assessments and draw up an implementation timetable.
“Walking is an integral part of Hong Kong as a sustainable city. The government will encourage people to walk more and rely less on motorised transport,” he said.
Leung also said that the government will commit to creating a bicycle-friendly environment to help foster a green community.
The government will provide “comprehensive cycle track networks” in new development areas such as Yuen Long South and Hung Shui Kiu, Leung said. It will also build a cycle track of about 82 kilometres to connect the eastern and western parts of the New Territories by linking up separate sections of cycle paths in the area.
The government has been widely criticised for not doing enough to encourage the use of bicycles. A report by the Audit Commission released in 2014 noted the excessive displays of signs along Yuen Long’s cycle track requesting bikers dismount. It said there are 105 such signs over a stretch of 45.6 kilometres, meaning that bikers are required to dismount every 400 metres on average.
The government came under fire again in 2015 when Apple Daily reported that it put up signs barring people from riding bicycles outside the Hong Kong Velodrome Park in Tseung Kwan O.