Proposed Environmentally Friendlv Linkage System (EFLS) at Kowloon East (Sep 2012)
1. The PAC strongly supports the principle of providing enhanced connectivity within the nodes of Kai Tak, Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay. Nevertheless we have the following comments.
2. It is noted that the EFLS ‘loop' system intends to link with the three main districts. It is important that the loop would interchange with the existing MTR system efficiently, given the constraints in the existing stations and the fast pace of the transformation of the Kwun Tong industrial area into a vast business district and also the Kwun Tong Town Centre redevelopment. At present the MTR Kwun Tong line, especially at Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay Stations, is almost fully uti1ised so the efficiency of connections needs careful assessment. Even with the indicatively shown EFLS station near the Shatin Central Link(SCL)'s Kai Tak Station, the overall connection between East and West Kowloon and between East Kowloon and other business nodes in the wider urban area are rather indirect. On the wider effectiveness of connections with other city nodes, we consider that an MTR connection between East and West Kowloon should be investigated in order to increase efficiency in the light of Government's intention to “energise" East Kowloon. This East -west connection is especially worthwhi1e as West Kowloon will be the future public transport hub when the High Speed Rail terminal and the Airport Express Link (AEL) “Kowloon Station" are linked up and could become a gateway for onward trips to Mainland China cities.
3. On the specific mode as proposed, we have some doubts on both the environmental/urban design impacts and the financial viability of a monorail system. While the rider experience would be stimulating, a two-way system would encounter significant problems pertaining to:
- The physical impact on the ground level environment
- The environmental impact of noise, ventilation, and on other street activities
- The visual impact of heavy concrete structures and sound screening structures
- The problems associated with vertical ingress/egress to and from elevated platforms
- The fixed alignment which does not allow for future re-routing
- The heavy front-end cost for implementation and the difficulties of cost-effective staging of route sections.
4. Kowloon East as a whole is proposed for extensive revitalisation with an emphasis on pedestrian movement as part of an environmental sustainable development. It is difficult to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of different modes of transportation at this stage, given the lack of a detailed Cost-Benefit Analysis of all the feasible options and the lack of comprehensive analytical findings. We do not think the EFLS as it is proposed at present is necessarily compatible with this. One potentially feasible option that should be explored is a trackless electric tramway to enhance the overall environmental and user objectives of Kowloon East. Many cities have adopted environmentally friendly modes of transport which have:
- Comparatively little environmental impact on the ground level environment
- The base track can be grassed over
- Require no associated structures and are highly manoeuvrable
- Can provide for easy access, including for the disabled
- Can be routed and re-routed easi1y
- Have no high front-end construction costs and can be phased according to need
- Interchanges with the existing and proposed MTR lines can be incorporated easi1y
- The system can be supplemented as necessary by other road based transport
We urge CEDD to carry out a Cost-Benefit Analysis of al1 feasible options and launch a more extensive public consultation.
Public Affairs Committee of HKIP