Police have said they have “failed to convince” Transport Department (TD) of the need for a review of road design at two major Queen’s Road Central pedestrian crossings.
“We failed to convince TD to improve the road design at the material location in the past year,” says Senior Superintendent Michael Yip, head of Hong Kong Island Traffic Branch, who was campaigning to help make the crossing safer.
“Without their support, we cannot change any road design,” Yip told Transit Jam. “If [police] cannot do anything, we have to accept it and do what we can do in the frontline,” he says.
Research shows drivers block almost every “green man” crossing cycle at both Pedder Street and Theatre Lane crossings at peak hours, with police blaming road design for the issue.
Pedestrians are forced to squeeze between cars, while drivers trapped on the crossing often try to escape by shunting forward when a pedestrian gap opens up.
Last year, police said it would be “unfair” to prosecute drivers who blocked the Pedder Street crossing, with one officer saying that it was difficult for drivers to see whether the Pedder Street crossing was clear before driving onto it.
In fact the Pedder Street crossing is only around 25 metres from end to end – for comparison, drivers are required to be able to read a car licence plate from 20 metres away to pass their driving test. The Theatre Lane crossing is around 15 metres long.
Police took the idea of a road redesign to TD last year and, with their ideas rejected, say they will now examine alternative enforcement techniques.
In 2020, drivers killed 32 pedestrians crossing roads. Seven of those killed were crossing at traffic light crossings.
TD has not responded to questions on the issue.