A response from Hong Kong Transport Department

Dear readers of the Park Island Blog.

Some of you will have read my recent suggestion to the Hong Kong Transport Department requesting a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights between the Ma Wan village and the Primary School on Park Island to address the risk of speeding buses possibly hitting children crossing the road. That post is here:


I have now received a response from the Transport Department as follows:

22 December 2011

Dear Sir / Madam,

Thank you for writing to the Transport Department on 21 December 2011, the Transport Department has replied as follows –

"Thank you for your suggestions on slowing down the traveling speed of buses operating on Pak Lam Road.

Regarding the suggested installation of speed humps, please note that such installation could be a hazard to passengers inside a bus.

Under the normal circumstance, the geometric design of a road would be of a standard suitable for vehicles to operate at a design speed without the need of special control measures. If physical barrier such as a speed hump is however introduced on the road surface, the sudden bumping of the bus as experienced by the passenger, for instance a pregnant woman, could cause harm and discomfort. It is therefore not this department' practice to install speed hump on public road particularly where public transport is served.

The volumes of traffic and pedestrians have to meet a threshold before Transport Department can consider the installation of traffic lights. These are very low on Pak Lam Road and Transport Department are unable to consider their installation.

Please note that, in crossing a road, a pedestrian should follow the Road Crossing Code in this Department's Road Users' Code (http://www.td.gov.hk/en/road_safety/road_users_code/index.html).

If one is responsible for a child, he/she should take the advice in Your Child as a Road User, Chapter 9 of the Code.

In order to warn drivers on driving at a safe speed, Transport Department have recently instructed the Highways Department to paint “SLOW” road markings near to the cautionary crossing on Pak Lam Road adjacent to the primary school. The new road markings are expected to be completed by early February 2012.

Meanwhile, Transport Department have served letters to relevant bus operators requesting them to warn their drivers to observe the safe traveling speed on Pak Lam Road.
In addition, a new traffic management scheme will take effect on 23.12.2011 in which buses (except those with permits) will be prohibited from entering Pak Lam Road north of its junction with Fong Yuen Road. This measure serves to restrict the amount of bus traffic operating on Pak Lam Road and would alleviate your concerns."

If you have any enquiry, please contact us at 1823.

Regards,

Ray Chan
Customer Service Officer
1823 Call Centre
(Case Ref: 1-332889430)

Park Island residents. What do you think about this response? Do you think the response from the Transport Department is satisfactory? Please let me know your thoughts by posting them in the comments section of this blog.

In the meantime I will send short note to the Transport Department noting their response and advising that I will follow up once I have more input from Ma Wan residents with regard to their suggestions.

Comments

  1. This response is laughable. Especially the part about pregnant wonen. It is a typical Government response and excuse from them to basically do nothing. You have raised a very serious issue on the topic of public safety. We need to keep pushing them to come up with a safer solution such as a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights which I think would be welcomed by all except the speeding bus drivers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AMY CHAN A PARK ISLAND RESIDENTDecember 24, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    THIS IS SADLY A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN. YOU HAVE NO TRAFFIC ON PARK ISLAND, YET BUS DRIVERS THAT RACE LIKE CRAZY SOMETIMES ON THE ROAD. I HOPE NO ONE WILL GET HURT BUT IT IS FORESEEABLE IT WILL HAPPEN UNLESS SAFETY MEASURES ARE TAKEN TO MAKE IT SAFER.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pathetic response from the TD. We should either get the Owners Committee to lobby on this or also Justin Tseng who recently won a Ma Wan election seat.

    The the Park Island Blogger, please keep up the good work and keep pushing this one. I think you are right, that taking action now might save a terrible accident in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I posted a comment up here. Why is it not visible?

    ReplyDelete
  5. A speed hump is for the bus to slow down when it comes to the hump...but the responce sounds like the bus would continue with the same insane speed and go over the bump!

    Why does the bus need to go so fast when its leaving Park Island anyways?...IF the bus driver has to drive like a race car driver to get out of Park Island to make it to Tsing Yi or Kwai Fong "on time"... I won't be too bothered if the bus goes slower and the driver drives safely and I just get to Tsing Yi or Kwai Fong a little "late"

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Sir,

    My name is Paul Turner. I am a Senior Inspector with the Hong Kong Police Force currently attached to the Enforcement & Control Division of Traffic New Territories South. My unit is responsible for responding to traffic accidents and other traffic related incidents within the Ma Wan area.

    I have noted the contents of this and your previous blog, as well as the response from the Transport Department.

    Last week I made a preliminary visit to the location and my original reason for posting here was to clarify if your concerns were related exclusively to Pak Lam Road or if there were any safety issues related to the adjacent roads i.e. Pak Lai Road and Fong Yuen Road since both run in close proximity to the school. Judging from TD's response above, I take it that your main concern is still Pak Lam Road?

    As you can probably imagine, whilst we were present we didn’t see any evidence of speeding the presence of a uniformed traffic police officer and particularly a group of them tends to have that effect on drivers. What I do intend to do however is carry out a series of speed enforcement operations near the school once it opens again after the New Year holidays. These operations will be very overt and whilst we will prosecute any drivers detected speeding, you have to understand that due to the layout of the road our presence is going to be noted very quickly. Word will no doubt get around that we are there and that we are carrying out enforcement action, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as the drivers realize that we have taken your complaint seriously. Your assistance in letting us know if these operations have any long-term deterrent effect would be useful.

    I expect the situation to improve dramatically whilst we are present, but I am more interested to know what ensues once we leave. We are unfortunately limited because of the guidelines issued to us as to where and how we conduct these operations but we will nevertheless do our best!

    Another avenue you haven’t mentioned and that we may consider pursuing is to contact the TMCA (Tsing Ma Control Area) Staff. Ma Wan falls within the Tsing Ma Control Area and the TMCA Staff are both authorized and qualified to carry out their own speed enforcement operations so if there is a problem with speeding vehicles TMCA could carry out parallel enforcement action together with us.

    Ma Wan Island is a restricted area and a pay toll road, which does limit our access. Police visits are 'usually' restricted to ‘urgent need’ cases such as attending traffic accidents or special pre-planned operations. Should you feel additional patrols are necessary and/or beneficial it would be helpful if you could reflect this to your Resident's Committee and the TMCA Staff to see if either ad-hoc patrols could be facilitated or if they can contact the Police on your behalf to request that we be allowed to enter the Ma Wan area other than when 'on-call'.

    I hope that we can be of some assistance and that we can work together to resolve this issue. If we are able to gain some documentary evidence of speeding it might help in coercing the Transport Department to take a second look at your proposals.

    Should you wish to contact me my office number is 21067270. I am out of the office quite a lot, so should you have any difficulty finding me you may also contact my Admin Staff on 21067079 and they can arrange for me to call you back or let you know when I will be back in the office.

    Thank you.

    P.A. Turner
    Senior Inspector,
    Enforcement & Control,
    Lantau Unit,
    Traffic New Territories South,
    Hong Kong Police.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Part of the solution would be to open a door to the school ... not facing the road. Lots of children are from park island ... open a door near the block 17 and PI children won't need to go to road side.
    It is an improvement measure easy to do.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear Mr Turner. As others here predicted in the past, we now have a very very severe accident that has left a Park Island resident, Mr Chan, on life support with likely serious brain injuries.

    Please please put a stop to this. You were so very clearly warned that such an accident might happen. And now it has. Many bus drivers drive around the island at excessive speed, not able to safely stop for people who may be crossing, children playing, people walking dogs, and elderly people walking across.

    The earlier suggestion calling for speed bumps was rejected by Ray Chan on behalf of the transport department for the following reason:

    "Regarding the suggested installation of speed humps, please note that such installation could be a hazard to passengers inside a bus."

    As Amy Chan and others had written in the past (December 24 2011):

    "THIS IS SADLY A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN. YOU HAVE NO TRAFFIC ON PARK ISLAND, YET BUS DRIVERS THAT RACE LIKE CRAZY SOMETIMES ON THE ROAD. I HOPE NO ONE WILL GET HURT BUT IT IS FORESEEABLE IT WILL HAPPEN UNLESS SAFETY MEASURES ARE TAKEN TO MAKE IT SAFER."

    I would like a clear response from the transport department on this matter.

    ReplyDelete

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