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LCQ5: Traffic on Lugard Road

     Following is a question by the Hon Tommy Cheung and a reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (June 25):


     In September last year, the Metro Planning Committee of the Town Planning Board (TPB) approved a planning application for the conversion of an almost century-old residence at 27 Lugard Road on The Peak into a hotel with 17 rooms. Although some sections of Lugard Road are only 1.8 metre wide, the Transport Department has approved the running of 1.475-metre wide electric mini-cars on the road to carry guests, staff, service contractors and goods to and from the hotel. Some members of the public have relayed to me that Lugard Road is a highly popular hiking trail thronged with picnickers. They are concerned about the prospect of pedestrians and vehicles competing for road space upon the commissioning of the hotel, which will make traffic accidents more likely to occur. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) why the government departments concerned still supported the planning application at TPB meetings, despite objections to the application raised by the Central and Western District Council and some of its members as well as nearby residents on grounds of traffic and environmental problems, and the fact that 96% of the public submissions received by the TPB opposed to the application;

(2) whether it has compiled statistics on the respective average numbers of pedestrians per hour on Lugard Road on Sundays, public holidays and weekdays; if it has, of the numbers; whether it has studied if the pedestrian flow coupled with the vehicular traffic flow brought about by conveyance of guests, staff, service contractors and goods of the hotel upon the commissioning of the hotel will exceed the capacity of Lugard Road; if it has studied, of the findings; and

(3) given that currently only a small number of vehicles issued with a permit are allowed to use certain road sections of Lugard Road, of the number of traffic accidents involving such vehicles on the road sections concerned in the past three years; whether it has studied if the casualties of traffic accidents occurring on the road sections in question will increase upon the commissioning of the hotel; if it has studied, of the findings?



     According to the information of the Transport Department (TD), the section of Lugard Road which is of public concern is about 800 metres in length. The concerned road is for shared use by pedestrians and vehicles. It is also the only access to the properties at Nos 1 and 27 Lugard Road. No vehicles are allowed to enter the concerned road section except those which have applied and being granted permits by the TD. In the past, the TD issued a total of five permits concurrently to the owners and occupants for driving to and from their properties. The wider part of the road section is over 3 metres in width, and its narrowest part is almost 2 metres wide, coupled with a 0.2-metre wide gully pit on the roadside which is quite level. Therefore, the road section is wide enough for the shared use by pedestrians and vehicles. Both pedestrians and motorists will have to give way to one another and pay attention to safety for achieving harmonious use of the road section (ie shared use of the road section by both pedestrians and vehicles).

     My reply to the various parts of the Hon Tommy Cheung's question is as follows:

(1) The Town Planning Board (TPB) is responsible for approving the application for the conversion of the residence at 27 Lugard Road into a hotel. Following the TPB's established procedures, the concerned government departments give advice to the TPB with respect to their respective policy portfolios and work.

     With respect to traffic assessment, when the TD studied the initial traffic impact assessment report submitted by the applicant, it noticed that the applicant had not proposed any vehicular traffic restrictive measures to facilitate the use of the road section by pedestrians during holidays. The TD therefore raised objection to the Planning Department. Subsequently, the applicant proposed no vehicular usage in the road section at certain period of time during holidays when more hikers use Lugard Road. In the remaining time period when the pedestrian flow is smaller, the hotel's mini electric car will only run a maximum of two round trips (ie four trips) per hour when necessary. Having considered various factors, the TD opined that the revised proposal had struck a balance between the need for pedestrians to use the road section and the vehicular access right of the property owner at 27 Lugard Road to use the road section. Therefore the TD indicated no objection to the planning application to the TPB.

     One of the conditions for the TPB's approval to the planning application is that the applicant must submit traffic management measures to the satisfaction of the TD. The TPB has also requested the TD to discuss with the applicant the extension of prohibiting hours for logistic trips by hotel vehicles. In response to the concern of and discussion at the TPB, the TD now plans to further restrict the use of the future hotel vehicles from using the road section from 9am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The TD has informed the applicant of this proposal. Reply from the applicant is being awaited.

     As for environmental issues, according to the information provided by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), upon studying the relevant documents of the planning application and after conducting a site inspection, the EPD considered that there would be no insurmountable environmental impact arising from the proposal. Therefore, the EPD has no in-principle objection to the planning application.

(2) According to TD's information, the average pedestrian flow at the concerned road section of Lugard Road from 9am to 7pm is about 540 persons per hour (pph) on Sundays and public holidays, and about 320 pph on Saturdays. The TD now plans to further restrict the use of the future hotel vehicles from using the road section from 9am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays so as to ensure pedestrian safety.

     As for weekdays, there are not many pedestrians on the road section, with about 110 pph on average (ie the pedestrian flow is only 2 persons in every minute). The TD estimates that a walk along the whole road section by a pedestrian takes about 15 minutes while a ride by the hotel vehicle takes about six to seven minutes. As hotel vehicles are allowed to make at most a total of 4 trips in two round trips per hour on weekdays and other non-restricted periods, the TD considers that the traffic flow generated by the hotel will not have impact on the capacity of the concerned road section of Lugard Road. In addition, taking into account the time required for loading and unloading, it is estimated that a pedestrian may only come upon a hotel vehicle once or twice during his walk on the whole road section. Thus, the impact on pedestrians should not be significant, and a harmonious use of the road section could be achievable.

(3) As advised by the Police, no traffic accident has been reported on the concerned road section in the past three years. As mentioned in part (1) of the reply, the time period allowing hotel vehicles to use the road section and the number of vehicle trips are subject to stringent restrictions. Thus, the TD sees no particular factors that may lead to an increase in the number of traffic accidents. Nevertheless, upon the opening of the hotel, the TD and the Police will closely monitor the traffic condition of the road section and implement appropriate traffic management measures as necessary to ensure road safety.

Ends/Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:06


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