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說好的「無車西九」呢?

2019/3/4 — 19:39

2019 年提出的無人駕駛電動車路綫(作者製圖,圖片素材來源:機電工程署 https://bit.ly/2EtU78G )

2019 年提出的無人駕駛電動車路綫(作者製圖,圖片素材來源:機電工程署 https://bit.ly/2EtU78G

2013 年提出的單軌鐵路路綫(作者製圖,圖片素材來源:西九文化區 https://bit.ly/2tONFEg )

2013 年提出的單軌鐵路路綫(作者製圖,圖片素材來源:西九文化區 https://bit.ly/2tONFEg

行政長官於 2013 年同意落實的城規會規劃,承諾西九龍文化區將成為「無車區域」,但近期文件卻顯示將有一條巴士線在公園及海旁沿路行駛。

廣告

「無車區域」的設計概念意味着該區的地面空間將完全為行人而設,除連接西隧的通道,其他車路及服務設施則會全面移至地底。至於連接文化區東西部不同地方的工作,則交由自動扶手電梯負責。

立法會議員不斷催促,加上政府因擔憂園區造價持續上漲而削減預算,以致整個「無車區域」計劃現修改為以 11 座無人駕駛電動車接載遊客往返總長 3.8 公里的路線。

廣告

無人駕駛對解決問題毫無幫助。只有在獨立行車線(如高速公路),車輛才能透過自動協調加快車流及確保安全,但在繁忙地區,這個協調卻需要不同道路使用者親自參與,當中包括行人、單車手、推手推車的人以至司機等。

在西九,無人駕駛與否實在無關痛癢,有沒有安裝防撞系統亦只屬偽命題。想在行人往來不絕的路上暢通無阻行駛,車輛就非有一條專屬行車線不可,要不然就像機場接駁巴士一樣不斷發出嘈雜煩擾的嗶嗶聲。政府一開始的承諾,是一個讓你毋需時刻警覺行駛車輛的休閒行人專用區域,現時的方向卻與當初迥然不同。

要令西九的海濱、公園及道路回到最初承諾的「無車區域」,有三件事必先做到:一、將地面行車限於緊急服務或公園維修;二、在文化區外的地面/地底車路建立一個環保巴士網絡,讓遊客往返不同場地或接駁周邊地鐵站及尖沙咀;三、承認現時工程延誤及超支,是興建高鐵及園區周邊基礎設施所致,並盡快通過撥款興建地底及沿着西九文化區北邊外圈的自動扶手電梯。

A “vehicle-free” West Kowloon?

The development plan vetted by the Town Planning Board and approved by the Chief Executive in 2013 promised that the West Kowloon Cultural District would be a vehicle-free environment. However, recently found documents show a bus route running through the park and along the waterfront.

The “vehicle-free” design concept meant that the ground-level surface of the district would be entirely dedicated to the pedestrians. All roads and servicing facilities would be underground except for the vehicular road wrapping the Western Harbour Crossing portal. Underground travelators and an elevated Automated People Mover running east-west along the edge of the district would help visitors connect between the venues.

These plans were scuttled by legislators and Government cutting corners off West Kowloon’s ballooning budget. The revised plan now shows visitors relying on a bus service using electric self-driving vehicles with a capacity of 11 passengers each along a 3.8km route through the district.

Making the vehicles self-driving will not help. Traffic flow and safety can be improved when computers negotiate between vehicles along segregated routes such highways. In busy areas the negotiation is best managed between drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and pram or cart pushers themselves.

Whether the buses in West Kowloon have a driver or are driverless and equipped with collision-avoidance systems, to keep moving through crowds of waving hands and moving legs they either need a dedicated route or they need to make a lot noise – note the nasty beeping vehicles in airports. But we were promised the exact opposite: a leisurely pedestrian environment, a place where you did not have to be on guard for moving vehicles.

Three things are needed to revive the promise of a “vehicle-free” promenade, park and pedestrian streets in West Kowloon; 

1. Vehicular traffic on the surface should be restricted to emergencies and park maintenance.

2. A network of (eco-friendly) buses should be deployed on the public roads under and along the district to connect people between venues, nearby rail stations and Tsim Sha Tsui.

3. We need to acknowledge that the delays and budget overruns are the result of building the Express Rail Station and supporting infrastructure next and under West Kowloon. We need to approve funds for people movers both underground and elevated along the northern perimeter of the West Kowloon Cultural District.

Beeping monster. The autonomous bus will stop when a pedestrian is nearby, making it unsuitable for busy pedestrian areas. 

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