Hong Kong Island will see a 30km unbroken harbourfront cycle path by early 2025, Harbourfront Commission chairman Vincent Ng told Transit Jam today.
Speaking at an event to celebrate the island’s first official cycle track, a 2km shared-use path along the Central waterfront, Ng said the Commission is already planning new segments, with the “water sports” area in Wan Chai to be opened next month and others activated over the coming two years.
The news indicates that pedestrian harbourfront boulevards completed or under development would be opened as “shared use” along the lines of the new Central Harbourfront path, with bicycle riders and pedestrians welcome to “harmoniously share the spaces” in the government’s words.
The Central Harbourfront shared path has been open since August, with free bike rental booths at either end doing a brisk trade – the government estimates harbour-goers have made more than 6,800 rentals so far, around 75 a day.
Bicycles were previously banned along all of the harbourfront on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, with the exception of a track segment in the West Kowloon Cultural District.
One official told Transit Jam off the record that the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) had earlier proposed to stretch the Central end of the existing path further towards Shun Tak Centre, but that police and Transport Department had raised safety concerns about foot traffic from the Central ferry piers.
But while two first-aid bicycles were on display patrolling the path today, there have been no reported collisions or mishaps since the approved path opened three months ago.
Ng said the shared cycle path focuses on the leisure aspect of cycling right now but simply opening up connections between districts can support healthier modes of transport. “We just started the cycling now, but when we first connected the harbourfront [footpaths], we saw people jogging from Western District to Fortress Hill, I know some people are jogging to work! As long as the connectivity between districts is improved, people will have more alternatives for their modes of travel,” he said.
When asked about oft-reported difficulties faced by bike users just yards away through Leisure & Cultural Services-run Tamar Park, for example, Ng said different departments had their own policies but that Harbourfront Commission was actively lobbying for “activation” of the harbourfront and new ways of managing public space.
“The model of management is quite an alternative to the traditional mode of managing a park,” he said. “We will let the people choose, and if people really love it, I think it may influence policymakers and policymaking in other departments.”
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