17 February 2019
Walk DVRC, a non-profit group, is calling on authorities to turn Des Voeux Road Central into a walk-friendly zone. Photo: Walk DVRC
Walk DVRC, a non-profit group, is calling on authorities to turn Des Voeux Road Central into a walk-friendly zone. Photo: Walk DVRC

Group steps up call to pedestrianize Des Voeux Road Central

A non-profit organization is stepping up a campaign for pedestrianization of Des Voeux Road Central, outlining a proposal to turn the area into a walk-friendly boulevard in the coming years.

Walk DVRC, a group formerly known as the Des Voeux Road Central Initiative, said on Monday that it will work toward creating a pedestrianized green artery along Des Voeux Road Central, from Western Market to Pedder Street.

The plan to nurture a world-class public space comes as it is estimated that Des Voeux Road Central is frequented by 4,000 to 8,000 people every hour.

Currently, the commercial area is best with problems such as overcrowding and serious air pollution.

In September last year, the government allowed a short pedestrianization trial covering 200 meters along Des Voeux Road, where the Walk DVRC held an event that drew over 14,400 participants.

The group now plans to hand in another proposal for turning the area from Des Voeux Road Hillier Street to Morrison Street into a pedestrianized zone during weekends, allowing only trams to pass through, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The goal is to create a great public space where people can get together and enjoy a sense of community.

Walk DVRC said it aims to raise HK$2.5 million in donations to support a comprehensive transport study to be done for the area.

The group’s chairman, Markus Joytak Shaw, said he hopes the plans can be implemented during Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s term as the vision is in line with her policy manifesto.

Walk DVRC, which counts professionals and environmental organizations among its members, is currently seeking to be officially recognized as an NGO. If the plans succeed, it will launch a fund-raising drive in the near future.

Pong Yuen-yee, a DVRC member and an experienced town planner, said pedestrianization should consider the needs and wants of different stakeholders, especially trucks and vans unloading food to the restaurants on Des Voeux Road.

She hopes the study will show them how changes can be made within a specific time period, and help in making decisions in relation to the blueprint of the Walk DVRC plan.

Pong says it might be possible to allow trucks to enter and drop off items at specific times.

Shaw noted that some people-friendly initiatives have already been undertaken by the Transport Department, such as widening the pedestrian paths and improving the streets.

As Walk DVRC has suggested that Hillier Street-Morrison Street stretch should be a “tram-only” and “pedestrian-only area during weekends and public holidays, Pong says there is a lot to deal with other than transport and traffic problems, issues that require plenty of cooperation within the government.

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