Sunday, May 11, 2008

Crossing the road

I was out at Tsing Yi yesterday on a school visit. We lived on Tsing Yi for a few years, first in a flat and then in a village house in Tai Wong Ha Tsuen. I was teaching then, finishing work at 4.00pm and walking home to practice my saxophone or read a book on the rooftop. Those were the days. The sax is now gathering dust on the top of the wardrobe.

Anyway, as I left the god awful shopping centre, Maritime Square, to cross to the park I noticed the huge, unsightly pedestrian bridge that was built to connect the park to the shopping centre. The bridge is massive, concrete and ugly with stairs, a massive ramp, a lift etc just to enable people to cross the road. It was built when I was living in Tsing Yi and after it was built everybody avoided using it, preferring to just cross the road normally as grown up people are able to. Of course the bureaucrats were not happy with people using their own initiative so they tried to force people to use their pointless bridge by planting bushes either side of the road to block access. People just walked through the bushes, gradually creating a path. Next came a wooden fence, in which a gap soon appeared to enable people to walk through. As the battle escalated the wooden fence was replaced with the unsightly metal railings that you see everywhere. Of course some people still hopped over it, but it forced many to use the bridge.

Yesterday, as I left the shopping mall I noticed that the metal railing had been opened up and a simple crossing had been created, with the pavement sloped for wheelchair access etc, a few yards from the bridge, so that people could cross the road at street level. Almost everybody was crossing here rather than using the stupid bridge. Nice to see a small victory for common sense and these crossings have been appearing more recently. Opposite Wan Chai Police Station, where I get off the bus to the office, another has appeared, giving people a sensible option to get to where they want to go rather than being herded across a single crossing point as before. Is that a sign that someone with a bit of common sense has started working in the Government Urban Planning Office? We live in hope.

1 comment:

gweipo said...

I cannot begin to tell you how I hate the metal railings they've put up all over HK.
Yes I know that quite a few pedestrians get hit here each year but PLEASE ...
Wyndham street must be the worst in the world. It creates an even more unsafe environment since everyone just ends up walking on the street and has no pavement to jump onto should a careering vehicle approach.