12th November, 2014
Police Roadblocks Worsen Traffic, Creating Conflicts between Protesters and Non-protesters?
Occupiers had left Queensway in Admiralty and the section of Nathan Road between Argyle Street and Mong Kok Road not long after the Umbrella Revolution. However, the police have been diverting traffic claiming to smooth out traffic, which resulted in blockage of major junctions and worse-than-normal traffic jams in Wan Chai and Mong Kok. Some occupiers suspect that the police deliberately made these traffic arrangements to create inconvenience for non-protesters, so to fuel public anger towards protesters.
Since Harcourt Road has been occupied, Lung Wo Road has become the major passage between Island East and West, as well as the main exit for Cross Harbour Tunnel. According to the original design, when vehicles pass through Lung Wo Road, they can go straight to all destinations via the four-lane Gloucester Road at the junction outside The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
However, since the beginning of the Umbrella Revolution, the police have been blocking the entrance of Gloucester Road with water-filled barriers, forcing drivers to take a left turn to the single-lane Fenwick Pier Street and turn to Fleming Road, before making a U-turn to join back to Gloucester Road after passing through three sets of traffic lights.
Even before the occupation began, traffic jams were often seen at the cross-roads on Fleming Road. During rush hour, cars often queued all the way to the bridge which joins the Cross Harbour Tunnel. The police’s roadblock basically diverts all traffic that goes through Lung Wo Road to that junction. Vehicles going from Kowloon side via the Cross Harbour Tunnel could original go to Gloucester Road by cutting to the left lane before the entrance of the tunnel and enter Wan Chai, but cones are now set up at that lane stopping drivers from going to the left lane, once again forcing drivers to enter the junction of Fleming Road. This also worsens the traffic jam at that junction.
Besides Fleming Road’s traffic, Lung Wo Road is now often congested after the traffic diversion was put in place. Since the pedestrian crossing lights in the area are now covered up by the police, pedestrians have to cross the road when cars stop creating dangerous scenes here and there.
Mong Kok occupy site is in a similar situation. Besides the occupy site in Nathan Road, the police also block off the entire southbound of Nathan Road between Argyle Street and Mong Kok Road with police vehicles. The police roadblock forces all vehicles driving towards south have to turn left to the always congested Mong Kok Road. Amongst these vehicles are a large number of mini-buses that stop outside Sin Tat Plaza. If the police had move the cordon backward by 60 meters, mini-buses can go straight to Sin Tat Plaza via Fife Street whilst other traffic can travel via Tung Choi Street and Fa Yuen Street, easing off the traffic jam massively.