The Civic Party has claimed that an experiment run by it shows that the Mong Kok pedestrian zone, which has for years been criticized for creating noise pollution, does not have to be scrapped for good to solve the problems faced by locals.
The pedestrian zone can be kept open if street performers, the accused main source of noise, are properly regulated, the party said.
At a meeting on May 24, the Yau Tsim Mong District Council, which has been concerned about the issue for many years, voted in favor of scrapping the Mong Kok pedestrian zone, which has been implemented since 2000 on part of the Sai Yeung Choi Street South.
A motion moved then by council member Andy Yu Tak-po from the Civic Party, who sought to only close down the zone temporarily until the government comes up with an effective supervision mechanism as well as launch a licensing system for street performers, was voted down.
After it negotiated with street performers on Saturday, some of the performers agreed to queue up and take turns in their activities in the zone, as well as refrain from using large-size speakers, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Still, one third of the street performers refused to take part in the mock regulation, which began at 5 pm on Sunday.
The Civic Party hoped to urge the government to issue licenses to regulate the street performances.
According to the party, on Sunday the noise had been kept under 85 decibels before 6:30 pm as requested by it in advance, compared to between 90 and 100 decibels that had been normally produced by street performers before.
Calling the simulation effective, Yu said a well-designed control system can be effective not only in lowering the level of noise but also in preventing “spot contesting” among the performers from happening.
As such, Yu added that he plans to suggest the government adopt a regulatory system to tackle the problems caused by the pedestrian zone, instead of scrapping it.
Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho called on authorities to look at regulation issues.
The party conducted a trial only to show to the government that making changes in the current system is also an alternative, Tam said, stressing that the experiment was not aimed at forcing authorities to withdraw the decision of scrapping the Mong Kok pedestrian area.
Tam added that a similar regulation approach can be applied to other pedestrian zones in the city.
The government, as a matter of fact, hasn’t set any timetable yet as to when the Mong Kok pedestrian zone will be officially scrapped. Authorities will conduct a survey on human and vehicular traffic flow before a final decision is made.
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