LCQ5: Public facilities and services for Shui Chuen O Estate

     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Chi-chuen and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (April 13):


     The public rental housing development at Shui Chuen O, Sha Tin (SCO Estate) involves the construction of 18 blocks of buildings to provide 11 123 units. The development, being implemented in four phases, is scheduled for completion within this year and the units of the four blocks of buildings under Phase 1 were available for intake in 2015. Recently, some households of Shui Chuen O Estate have relayed to me that the public facilities and services in their district of residence are seriously insufficient, causing inconvenience to their daily living. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the existing numbers of private cars and motor cycles owned by households of SCO Estate and the respective ratios of such numbers to the population of the Estate; whether it has assessed if the demand of households for parking spaces was underestimated in the initial planning of the numbers of parking spaces of private cars and motor cycles to be provided in SCO Estate; whether it has any plan to increase the numbers of such parking spaces;

(2) whether it has assessed if illegal parking was serious in SCO Estate last year; of the number of fixed penalty tickets issued by the Police each month at Pok Chuen Street against illegal parking since the intake of the Estate;

(3) given that some households of SCO Estate have relayed that the trip frequencies of the several franchised bus and green minibus routes that currently pass by the Estate are on the low side, whether the authorities have conducted any survey on whether the service levels of the relevant routes can meet the demand of the households during peak periods when they commute to and from work; whether the authorities have compiled statistics on the demand of the households for public transport services and collected their relevant views, as well as enhanced the external transport services for the Estate;

(4) as some households of SCO Estate have relayed to me that while police officers seldom patrol the Estate, police cars often drive through SCO Estate to Pok Chuen Street to take enforcement actions against illegally parking, of the existing arrangement for police work in the Estate, and whether the authorities will consider deploying more police officers to patrol the Estate; and

(5) whether it has plans to enhance the fire and ambulance services for the district upon the completion of SCO Estate, and whether it has earmarked any "Government, Institution or Community" site near the Estate for the construction of a municipal services building?



     My consolidated reply to the various parts of the question raised by Hon Chan Chi-chuen is as follows.

(1) and (2) During the planning of new public housing estates, the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) will determine the provision of parking facilities with reference to the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) and in consultation with the Transport Department (TD) and District Councils. The provision of private car parking spaces and motorcycle parking spaces for residents of public housing estates generally depends on the number of public rental housing (PRH) units. Shui Chuen O Estate provides a total of about 11 100 PRH units. In accordance with the HKPSG, HA should generally provide about 263 to 289 private car parking spaces and about 58 motorcycle parking spaces.  

     In the course of planning for Shui Chuen O Estate, HA has taken into consideration of the isolated location of the Estate, Sha Tin District Council's requests and TD's comments and adopted a higher standard of parking facilities and provided an additional 15 per cent of private car parking spaces and motorcycle parking spaces respectively for meeting the parking demand of residents. Where Shui Cheun O Estate provides a total of about 11 100 PRH units, a total of 403 private car parking spaces (including 333 private car parking spaces for residents and 70 private car parking spaces for the shopping centre) and 69 motorcycle parking spaces are provided.

     In the past year (from April 2015 to March 2016), the Police received a total of 238 complaints against obstruction by vehicles and illegal parking at Pok Chuen Street, and the complaint figures are shown in the annex.

     The Police will take stringent enforcement action against illegal parking at major roads. And on roads where there is less traffic or used by construction site vehicles, the Police will take enforcement action against illegal parking under the Selective Traffic Enforcement Policy having regard to the actual situation. The Police will maintain close communication with the management of construction sites, and request the responsible persons to arrange large works vehicles to drive in and out of the construction sites during non-peak hours as far as possible so as to reduce traffic flow and maintain smooth road traffic.

(3) Prior to the completion of a new large-scale housing development, TD will make plans for the public transport service arrangements for the development and introduce new routes or adjust existing services in a timely manner. After the intake of residents, TD will deploy staff to conduct on-site inspections and surveys from time to time to monitor the changes in passenger demand. TD will strengthen service to meet demand where necessary.

     Currently, Shui Chuen O Estate is served by two franchised bus routes with whole-day service, viz. Routes No. 287X and 288 of the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB) which operate to/from Jordan and Sha Tin Town Centre respectively. Having regard to passenger demand, the headways during morning peak periods of these two routes have been shortened from 15 minutes when the services were first introduced to the current levels of 12 minutes and nine minutes respectively. In addition to the two aforesaid routes providing whole-day service, the number of franchised bus routes providing peak-only services for Shui Chuen O Estate has increased from two to five since the fourth quarter of 2015 in the light of passenger demand during peak periods. These peak-only services (i.e. KMB Routes No. 47X and 83A and Cross-Harbour Bus Routes No. 182X, 682B and 982X) provide services between Shui Chuen O Estate and Kwun Tong, Kwai Tsing, Central, Wan Chai and Eastern District with a total of eight and nine special departures during morning and afternoon peak periods respectively.  

     Meanwhile, Shui Chuen O Estate is also served by 3 green minibus routes with whole-day service (i.e. New Territories Green Minibus Routes No. 812 and 813 as well as Supplementary Route No. 813A) which operate to/from MTR Shek Mun Station, MTR Sha Tin Wai Station and some other locations within Sha Tin. These routes, with headways of 8 to 15 minutes during peak periods, provide more choices for short-haul passengers and those interchanging with railway services.  

     Based on TD's observations, the overall service level of public transport for Shui Chuen O Estate can cater for the demand of the existing residents. In tandem with the anticipated population growth at Shui Chuen O Estate, TD and franchised bus companies have put forward a number of proposals for enhancing franchised bus services for the Estate under the Route Planning Programme 2016-17. These proposals include introducing the third route with whole-day service to/from Kwun Tong and an overnight service to/from Kowloon. TD has also indicated that in accordance with the existing mechanism for adjusting the frequencies of franchised bus services, frequency improvement to the 5 aforesaid peak-only services will be implemented progressively once their patronage levels reach a certain threshold. Consultation with relevant District Councils on the proposals is underway. TD will consider the views canvassed and decide on the proposals before implementing them gradually from the third quarter of 2016 onwards. TD will continue to liaise closely with public transport operators, monitor the demand for public transport services at Shui Chuen O Estate, and make service adjustments in a timely manner.

(4) According to information provided by the Security Bureau, the Tin Sum Division of the Shatin District of the Police has already set up a temporary police post, manned by two police officers, on the ground floor of Shing Chuen House of Phase 2 of Shui Chuen O Estate. Apart from handling requests for assistance by residents of the Estate, the temporary police post also carries out patrol and traffic management duties in the Estate. In addition, the Tin Sum Division has arranged patrol vehicles to conduct patrols in the area of Shui Chuen O Estate. Police Tactical Units, Emergency Unit and Rural Area Patrol Team also conduct anti-crime patrols in the Estate from time to time for deterrence of crime. Also, the Regional Crime Prevention Office of the New Territories South Region of the Police and the Tin Sum Division have provided security advice to the Housing Department in order to enhance the security of Shui Chuen O Estate. During the intake and decoration periods of Shui Chuen O Estate, the Anti-triad Units of the New Territories South Region and Shatin District also conduct anti-crime patrols in the Estate to prevent infiltration of decoration works by law-breakers and to prevent crime. The Police will closely monitor the law and order situation of Shui Chuen O Estate and deploy suitable police manpower to maintain law and order.

(5) In the course of planning for the development of Shui Chuen O, HA followed the requirements of HKPSG and has consulted relevant departments and organisations, including Planning Department, Fire Services Department and the District Council to formulate the planning brief and the provision of suitable facilities in the Estate. The Government will take into consideration the relevant policies and any needs arising from the development of the community, and review the provision of various public services in the district from time to time with the view to making suitable planning.

Ends/Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:45