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MTR Station At Happy Valley

What do you think of the decision not to build an MTR station at Happy Valley?

Updated on Jan 22, 2009 – SCMP

Deciding against having an MTR station in Happy Valley illustrates a short-sighted approach to the provision of a long-term sustainable transport system in Hong Kong.

The Happy Valley-Wan Chai area is badly served by the MTR. This is a result of a decision to delete the original station proposed between Wan Chai and Causeway Bay stations when the Island Line was built. The same mistake is about to be repeated.

The MTR generally plans stations every kilometre along its lines so that people are usually within walking distance of a station. The transport policy is based on a railway-led strategy, and a comprehensive network of lines and stations could achieve this objective by providing a station within 500 metres of everywhere in urban Hong Kong.

Happy Valley is a case where the long-term view of a sustainable transport system – independent of road systems, air pollution and traffic congestion – should be applied, rather than a short-term argument relating to construction costs.

There is traffic congestion in Happy Valley on a regular basis, and this results in major delays at the Queen’s Road East/Wong Nai Chung junction, which can lead to major delays in all directions. There is no other practical long-term solution than to remove trips from the road and put them underground in a railway.

This station would also facilitate access to the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital and the racecourse, relieving much of the traffic congestion.

The possibility of an alternative system of pedestrian underpasses to Causeway Bay station is unrealistic. Already the walks through the Causeway Bay MTR station to Times Square are at the limit of what is acceptable. An underpass extension to the heart of Happy Valley would not work.

There is only one opportunity to provide this station and it must be taken now, not only for those going to and from Happy Valley, but as part of a wise policy to provide a comprehensive railway station network to serve all of Hong Kong for the next 100 years and beyond.

Ian Brownlee, Happy Valley

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