• Pound Lane
  • Pound Lane
  • Pound Lane
  • Pound Lane
  • Pound Lane
  • Pound Lane

Sheung Wan Pound Lane

FAQ

Q1. What are the reasons for constructing the escalator system at Pound Lane?

The Mid-levels of Central and Western District is a well-developed area. There is very limited space for building new roads or carrying out road and junction widening works. In general, the roads in the Mid-levels area are busy and narrow. Traffic is congested during peak hours. In recent years, the Central and Western District Council (C&WDC) and the local residents requested the Government to construct the second hillside escalator from Central to Mid-levels to provide a comfortable and convenient route for pedestrians travelling between Sheung Wan and Mid-levels.  The C&WDC considered that the provision of escalators would encourage the public to walk.

The Government presented to the Legislative Council Panel on Transport earlier some proposals on “hillside escalator links and elevator systems”, including an escalator link at Ladder Street, which was proposed by C&WDC. The proposal was proceeded to the preliminary technical feasibility study (TFS).

Ladder Street is a Grade 1 Historic Building. Hence, the heritage impact due to the construction of the hillside escalator was first assessed during the preliminary TFS. Comments from Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) were sought. If the proposed escalator link is to be built along Ladder Street, it will require demolition of about half of the width of the stone stairs along the street for the installation of escalators. The remaining half will also be affected to facilitate utilities diversion. That will impose adverse impact on the preservation of Ladder Street as a Grade 1 Historic Building. Therefore, other alternative alignments in its vicinity have to be investigated.

After assessing other possible alternative alignments, including Shing Wong Street and Pound Lane, it was found that the alignment along Pound Lane would serve a larger residential area and more residents with less duplication with the existing escalator facilities. Also, there would be less impact on the existing historical buildings in the area. Hence, the alignment along Pound Lane was chosen for further preliminary TFS. The findings and recommendations of the preliminary TFS were reported to C&WDC in July 2011. The C&WDC supported the proposed Pound Lane escalator.

Hence, Highways Department is now carrying out detailed investigation for the proposal.

Q2. How is the set up of the proposed Pound Lane escalator?

The proposed Pound Lane escalator consists of several covered one-way escalators, starting upslope from Tai Ping Shan Street and ending at Bonham Road.  There will be a footbridge to be constructed spanning across Hospital Road to enable the escalator to end at Bonham Road.  Stairlifts to serve wheelchair users will be provided along the route of the escalators.  Highways Department conducted a series of consultation exercises for the proposed escalator from 4 July 2013 to 3 September 2013. The scheme was then refined after taking into account the public views received.  The preliminary refined scheme is as shown below.

 

Q3. How many views did you receive during the public consultation held in July-September 2013?  What are the key concerns of the public?

During the two-month public consultation period, we received about 5,000 public views.  In summary, both supporting and opposing views to the project are of considerable amounts and of similar order.  The concerns of the public are mainly on the project need, usage volume, consideration of alternative alignment, environmental & heritage preservation, community impact and cost.

Q4. What are the changes to the escalator scheme following the public consultation in 2013?

After considering the public views, we propose to refine the following aspects of the original scheme:

(i) Delete the lower half portion of the proposed escalator which is within the boundary of the Pound Lane Public Toilet and narrow a section of the stairway between the female toilet entrance and Po Yee Street to make way for the upper half portion of the escalator.  This change can avoid the demolition and reconstruction of Pound Lane Public Toilet and the potential impact on Kwong Fook I Tsz;

(ii) Remove the parapet wall of the existing stairway beside Fook Chak House to make way for the escalator.  This change can avoid alteration of the existing retaining wall of Blake Garden;

(iii) Relocate the turnaround facility originally proposed to fall within Blake Garden to Upper Station Street.  This change can avoid occupying land of Blake Garden, felling of trees within the garden and adverse impact on an old and valuable tree; and

(iv) Turn the existing slope on the east of the stairway beside the Bonham Road Rest Garden into a garden to make up for the loss of Bonham Road Rest Garden.

Q5. What are the benefits of constructing the Pound Lane escalator?

The Pound Lane escalator will provide a comfortable and convenient route for pedestrians travelling between Sheung Wan and Mid-levels.  It will hence encourage pedestrians to access the hillside area on foot and help relieve pressure on public transport demand in the Mid-levels. Besides, the Pound Lane escalator will help local residents (especially the elderly and the visitors to the Tung Wah Hospital) to commute along Pound Lane.

Q6. At present, there are many beautiful trees along Pound Lane, including two Old and Valuable Trees (OVT) on the OVT register under Leisure and Cultural Services Department.  Will the Pound Lane escalator affect these trees? How will the design of the Pound Lane escalator accommodate the nearby trees?

Highways Department has conducted a tree impact assessment on the existing trees within the project boundary.  There are two OVTs along Pound Lane, which are on the OVT register under Leisure and Cultural Services Department.  One of the OVTs (No. LCSD CW/34) is located in Blake Garden opposite Tai Hing Building  and the other (No. ArchSD CW/5) is the wall tree located opposite the Pound Lane Public Toilet.  In the preliminary refined scheme, the proposed escalator has avoided these OVTs and sited some distance away.

 

Apart from these OVTs, we minimized the number of nearby trees to be affected in refining the alignment of the escalator.  For example, the proposed turnaround facility originally located within Blake Garden is relocated to Upper Station Street under the preliminary refined scheme.  This arrangement avoids felling trees within Blake Garden.  There are still 5 trees currently located at Bonham Road, Hospital Road and Pound Lane and they will be affected.  We propose to transplant these 5 trees to other suitable locations.

 

 

OVT (No. LCSD CW/34)                          OVT (No. ArchSD CW/5)

Two OVTs located at Blake Garden opposite Tai Hing Building and located opposite the Pound Lane Public Toilet will not be affected.

 

 

Trees at the slope on the east of the stairway beside Bonham Road Rest Garden will be affected

 

 

Trees at Pound Lane will be affected

 

Q7. The backyard of No. 4 Hospital Road (currently Centre for Food Safety) is a Grade 2 Historic Building, is it really necessary to acquire and convert it to pedestrian crossing facilities?

Due to geographical constraints on width, the proposed Pound Lane escalator is a one-way escalator system.  For pedestrians travelling in the opposite direction, they will rely on the pedestrian stairway between Bonham Road and Hospital Road.  As the stairway is located at the bend of the carriageway, the sightline is obstructed by existing structures.  To improve road safety, parts of the boundary wall at No. 4 Hospital Road may have to be demolished and shifted backward.  Then, part of the backyard of the Centre for Food Safety will be converted to pedestrian use.

We are now exploring an alternative arrangement such that the boundary wall of the Building at No.4 Hospital Road would not be affected.

Q8.Will the Pound Lane escalator have any impact on the Pound Lane Public Toilet?

Under the original scheme, demolition and reconstruction of the Pound Lane Public Toilet were required to make room for the construction of two flights of escalators.  During the public consultation in 2013, objections to the demolition of Pound Lane Public Toilet were received. The public considered that the toilet is part of the Tai Ping Shan Medical Heritage Trail and has historical value, and so should be preserved.  In view of the above, the original scheme was refined to avoid demolition of the Pound Lane Public Toilet by deleting the lower flight of the proposed escalator which is within the toilet boundary and narrowing a section of the stairway between the female toilet entrance and Po Yee Street to make way for the upper flight of the escalator.  However, modification of the male toilet entrance of the Pound Lane Public Toilet is unavoidable. The male toilet entrance will be re-provided at Po Yee Street and the existing male toilet entrance will be permanently closed.

Q9.What are the external features of the design of tthe proposed Pound Lane escalator?

Design of the proposed Pound Lane escalator will be based on the characteristics  of Pound Lane and will blend in with its existing environment. The project will also enhance greening of surroundings, allowing members of the public to enjoy weatherproof travelling under a more comfortable environment.

Q10.What is the estimated cost of the proposed Pound Lane escalator and when will it start?

Highways Department is now arranging a public forum to further consult the public on the preliminary refined scheme and the way forward for the project.  We still remain open to the development of the project and hence there are no implementation programme and project estimate available yet. If the preliminary refined scheme is supported by the public, we will proceed to take forward the project according to established procedures.