Date
24 February 2018
Developing Kwun Tong into a business district will require transforming old industrial buildings into commercial buildings. The footbridge (inset) near the Kwun Tong Swimming Pool will be extended to the MTR Station. Photo: Internet/HKEJ
Developing Kwun Tong into a business district will require transforming old industrial buildings into commercial buildings. The footbridge (inset) near the Kwun Tong Swimming Pool will be extended to the MTR Station. Photo: Internet/HKEJ

Footbridges part of plan to turn Kowloon East into second CBD

The Energizing Kowloon East Office (EKEO) has proposed the building of pedestrian footbridges in Kowloon East to connect both old and new buildings in the district to attract more people flow and make access to the harbourfront more convenient.

The footbridges are part of the latest plan to transform Kowloon East, which covers Kwun Tong and Ngau Tau Kok, into another attractive business district like Central, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The government has announced the adoption of an integrated approach to make Kowloon East the second central business district in Hong Kong as part of efforts to sustain the city’s economic development. The strategy involves land use reviews, enhanced urban designs, and improvements to connectivity and related infrastructure.

After several years of study, the EKEO has come up with a medium- to long-term plan to achieve the goals, including building seven footbridges.

Under the plan that includes multiple developments until 2031, the footbridges will be located at the Kai Tak Hospital, Hoi Yuen Road roundabout, Tsun Yip Street and several other places, with one to be built above Tsui Ping River so that people can use it to reach the harbourfront.

Two existing footbridges and one subway will also be renovated and extended.

Brenda Au Kit-ying, who heads the EKEO, pointed out that developing Kwun Tong into a business district would involve transforming many old industrial buildings into commercial buildings, for which building setbacks are required.

Ngan Man-yu, a member of the Kwun Tong District Council and the Harbourfront Commission, said he would request results of the studies carried out by the EKEO.

He also said the office should explain to the District Council the progress of the short- and medium-term measures proposed in a previous research report.

As such, it may take quite some time for the planned footbridges to materialize, Ngan said, adding that related expenditures require legislative approval, public consultations and meetings with developers.

Ngan also said the best way to improve traffic in the district is to extend the planned Kai Tak Monorail to Kwun Tong and Ngau Tau Kok.

So Yiu-kwan, a civil and structural engineer, suggested that the footbridges be built one after another as launching the projects at the same time may end up benefiting large contractors only.

In addition to the footbridges, the EKEO proposed the building of six north-south corridors and four east-west corridors for both vehicles and pedestrians.

Several designated cargo working areas are also proposed to minimize illegal parking in the area.

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TL/JC/CG

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