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How Can The Harbour Be Made More Accessible?

Updated on May 21, 2008 – SCMP

The call by the Harbour Business Forum for more access to Hong Kong’s jewel, the harbour (“Upgrade piers for more activities along harbour, study urges”, May 17), is timely and welcome.

In particular, the study identifies the important need for continuity of access along the waterfront on foot or by bicycle.

An exciting plan has been presented to the Planning Department for a cycle path/footpath along the whole of the northern shore of Hong Kong Island that would open up the harbourfront for locals and tourists.

As a transport link and leisure attraction, a cycle path offers many benefits. In practical terms, it would draw people-focused businesses, providing a basis for appropriate development of this public area.

It would reduce traffic on Hong Kong’s busy roads, as more people rediscover the pleasure and convenience of cycling. By cutting pollution and inspiring a less stressful lifestyle, cycling brings health benefits to everyone.

More generally, it would show that Hong Kong cares about itself. This place is our home. If we hide our beloved harbour behind roads, hoardings and parking lots, it tells the world that we care only about plot ratios and return on investment.

In fact, the plan for a cycle path would not be hard to implement. Most of the harbourfront is poorly used, such as for storage, vehicle repairs or simply open areas of waste ground. The proposed boardwalk/cycle path under the Island Eastern Corridor and existing Quarry Bay Park provide additional links in the chain.

With a little imagination the whole of the harbourfront could be open to all.

Phil Heung, Hong Kong Cycling Alliance

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