Government proposals will block cyclists from accessing Mui Wo shops

Data from a concern group in Mui Wo has revealed the government’s “facelift” for the Mui Wo ferry pier may be misjudging how pedestrians and cyclists use the local transport network.

The existing roundabout, while dangerous, is at least a connection between shops and villages. Under government proposals, cyclists would lose access to the junction.

The development plans would lock cyclists into a closed cycle lane connecting Silvermine beach and villages to the pier. But researcher Kathryn Davies, a HKU lecturer and committee member of Living Islands Movement, found that less than half of cyclists heading into Mui Wo from that direction were actually going to the ferry pier.

“The community doesn’t just go to the ferry pier. We need to go from the beach, villages, public housing estate, all of those residents need to get to supermarkets and the other businesses. The government proposal seems to not even think twice about this,” she says.

While at peak commuting times the majority of bicycles using the existing road were headed to the pier, at other times hundreds of bicycles head in and out of the town centre using a roundabout which will be closed to bicycles, Davies found.

“Most cyclists won’t even use the new cycle path because they couldn’t exit from the cycle path to get to the road to the shops,” says Davies. Pedestrians too would have a longer walk, with a railing-lined path making the trip from the beach to the town centre shops longer than it needs to be.

Davies says government representatives drawing up plans may have a distorted “passenger view” of the area. “When I see them in Mui Wo they arrive by private vehicle. So I feel they lack the firsthand experience. They are seeing Mui Wo through the lens of a private passenger in a private car and I feel they totally lack that understanding.”

In a submission to the government, Davies has advised the government to rethink its plans, calling for a viable pathway from both the pier and the shops.

“The area has potential to be a ’15-minute community’,”  says Davies, referencing the popular concept, championed by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, of a ’15-minute city’ of socially and economically mixed districts that improve overall quality of life.

The government’s consultation on the development plans ended yesterday (31 March).

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