The new bridge to Macao and Zhuhai is almost ready. Together with the new crossing at Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai (蓮塘/香園圍口岸) and improvements along the Western Corridor these new road links will dramatically increase the number of vehicles which can cross the boundary of Hong Kong.
And that spells trouble for Hong Kong. A lot of trouble. Where will all that traffic go?
For the last two decades around 40,000 vehicles crossed our boundary every day. Over time the mix of vehicles changed with fewer trucks and now more private vehicles and coaches. But overall, the total crossings remained stable.
That is till now. The new road links we are building will increase border crossings to over 220,000 vehicles a day. Once opened the political pressure will be enormous to make sure these roads are used. There will be a strong push for Hong Kong to issue more permits for mainland vehicles to drive here. And similarly, the Mainland will allow more Hong Kong cars to enter. In turn, more Hongkongers will consider owning cars as they can use them to drive to destinations throughout Guangdong (香港道路將會更繁忙).
To understand how significant these numbers are, our existing local car fleet is only 820,000 vehicles. And our short road network is already so congested that the journey speeds of less than 10km/h are becoming a regular occurrence along major urban roads.
Hong Kong was designed as a closed city, and opening the boundary for more vehicles is a major change. I have looked for plans to see how government intends to cope. I can’t find any. No convenient park’n ride facilities at the boundary. No park’n walk plans for urban districts (車輛湧到道路狹窄及缺乏停泊設施的市區). All I can find are old plans for electronic road pricing for a small area on Hong Kong Island.
With nowhere to go, it looks like we will all be paying the price for this new traffic. Share your thoughts via facebook.com/PZpage