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LCQ12: Tuen Mun Castle Peak Road traffic condition
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     Following is a question by the Hon Leung Che-cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (July 6):

Question:

     In recent years, a number of sites along the Castle Peak Road - Castle Peak Bay section in Tuen Mun have been or are being zoned as sites for housing development.  Nevertheless, the traffic capacity of the road section could not cope with the additional vehicular flows arising from the growing population, resulting in extremely serious traffic congestions at the road section.  In addition, as most of the students of an international school in the vicinity of the road section commuting to and from school by private cars, and quite a number of such vehicles park at the roundabout during the periods before and after school, the traffic congestion problem at the road section has been aggravated.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the designed capacity of the aforesaid road section, and its traffic volumes during rush hours and non-rush hours, as well as the number of reports received in the past three years by the authorities relating to the traffic congestions at the road section;

(2) given that last year, some members of the Tuen Mun District Council put forward suggestions on addressing the aforesaid traffic congestion problem, including (i) implementing traffic control measures at the roundabout near the aforesaid international school during rush hours, (ii) diverting vehicles travelling along Tsing Ying Road (Tuen Mun bound) to the old route that passes by the Crossroads Foundation, and (iii) building a slip road on Castle Peak Road near So Kwun Wat connecting Tuen Mun Road for the purpose of diverting traffic, whether the authorities have followed up on such suggestions; if they have, of the progress; and

(3) given that the new campus of a post-secondary institution near the road section will be commissioned in September this year, whether the authorities have assessed if the traffic congestion problem at the road section will be aggravated by the vehicular flows to be brought about by the commissioning of the campus; if they have assessed and the outcome is in the affirmative, of the authorities' counter measures?

Reply:

President,

     My reply to the various parts of the Hon Leung Chi-cheung's question is as follows.

(1) At present, the traffic throughput during the busiest hours (i.e. between 7.30am and 8.30am) on the Castle Peak Road - Castle Peak Bay section in east Tuen Mun is about 1 500 vehicles per hour (both directions).  Given that the design capacity of the road section concerned is about 2 200 vehicles per hour (both directions), the road section should be able to cope with the current traffic demand during the morning peak hours.  As the traffic volume during non-peak hours does not usually affect the traffic condition, the Transport Department (TD) has not maintained traffic volume data at non-peak hours for the road section.

     Although the road section concerned still has sufficient capacity at present, busy traffic conditions may sometimes appear at certain road junctions, in particular the junction between Tsing Ying Road and Castle Peak Road, due to the need to accommodate traffic flow from various directions.  In the past three years, TD received about 40 complaints, the majority of which concerned traffic conditions at the roundabout of the junction between Tsing Ying Road and Castle Peak Road during the morning peak hours.  TD will closely monitor the development and traffic conditions in the vicinity of the road section concerned, continue to liaise with the Tuen Mun District Council (TMDC) and adopt appropriate traffic management measures when necessary.

(2) The busy traffic conditions of the Tsing Ying Road roundabout are mainly related to the large numbers of private cars dropping off or picking up students of an international school in the area before and after school.  TD has been communicating with the school and has held several meetings with the school to urge it to implement effective measures to reduce or divert vehicle flow.  The measures include encouraging parents to arrange students to take school buses, staggering the time of arrival at the school for parents carrying their children by private cars, encouraging the shared use of private cars among students, using school buses of higher seating capacity, and encouraging parents to travel via Tuen Mun Road (Tuen Mun bound) to get to Castle Peak Road and Tsing Ying Road, so as to ease the congestion at Castle Peak Road to Tsing Ying Road.  Moreover, TD has also suggested that the school should limit the number of vehicles entering the school campus to reduce the traffic flow on Castle Peak Road.  After several rounds of discussion, the international school agreed to make it mandatory for students to take school bus in phases from the school year starting in August 2017 (Note) and try to arrange various school bus interchange points for students.  TD will closely monitor the traffic situation and continue to engage the international school to explore effective measures to reduce the traffic flow passing through the roundabout of Tsing Ying Road.

     To further improve the traffic condition at the above-mentioned road section, after taking into account the view of the TMDC, TD has studied a number of traffic management measures, including restricting the direction of turning for vehicles entering the roundabout.  The study shows that the current design of the roundabout concerned is able to balance the traffic flows from all directions, thereby allowing the safe use of the roundabout by all vehicles moving in various directions simultaneously.  TD and relevant departments have also considered other suggestions put forward by the TMDC, including diverting vehicles travelling along Tsing Ying Road via the road passing through the Crossroads Foundation, or constructing a slip road on Castle Peak Road near So Kwun Wat connecting to Tuen Mun Road directly.  Regarding the proposal of using the road passing through the site of the Crossroads Foundation, given the planned use of the site and considerations about the overall development of the area, the Government has no plan to open the road for public access.  As for the proposal for constructing a slip road at So Kwun Wat directly connecting to Tuen Mun Road, the Government currently has no plan to construct such a slip road since a study of the proposal indicates that it will not effectively reduce the traffic flow via the Castle Peak Road - Castle Peak Bay section.

(3) The peak hours of the Castle Peak Road íV Castle Peak Bay section are approximately 7.30am to 8.30am. Since the school time of the post-secondary institution concerned (i.e. Chu Hai College of Higher Education) starts during non-peak hour at 9.30am, the school time does not overlap with that of the international school mentioned in Part (2) of the question (i.e. 7.20am to 8.10am).  We understand that there are about 1 700 teachers, students and other staff of the post-secondary institution in 2016/17.  Since there are only 35 parking spaces at the institution, the institution assesses that its teachers, students and other staff will likely travel to the campus primarily by public transport.  The vehicular flow generated should be less than that by the international school, and should pose no adverse impact on the traffic at the location concerned.

     To complement with the local development, the Government plans to widen the relevant section of Castle Peak Road and change it into a dual two-lane carriageway, and improve the design of the junction at that section.  These improvement measures should be able to improve the traffic condition in the vicinity of the Castle Peak Road - Castle Peak Bay section effectively.  The project was originally scheduled for commencement in 2016 and expected to be completed in 2019/2020.  However, a resident in Tuen Mun filed a judicial review case in relation to the project in September 2015 and the Government will revise the timetable depending on the result of the judicial review.

Note: The international school stated that since it had already taken in students for the year 2016/17, the school was unable to require this batch of students to follow the mandatory requirement.  The arrangement for the mandatory use of school bus will be implemented in 2017/18 (starting from August 2017).

Ends/Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:36

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