Blink and you missed it: traffic-free Central


I had some things to do around Des Veoux Road Central yesterday, and I looked forward to sampling the long-awaited pedestrianized experience along the street. However, it was nowhere to be found in my stroll between World Wide House and around the branch of Fortress. I wondered whether traffic seemed lighter than usual, but then assumed I was imagining it. Indeed, I thought I must have dreamt the whole planned traffic-free experiment.

hkfp-inpicsBut apparently it did indeed take place – on a short stretch of the street some distance away. The pictures show a very Hong Kong style of people-first urban-management breakthroughs.

The authorities clearly did not want this to happen, and continue to wish that pedestrians would just go away and stop clogging up precious highways space needed by important seven-seater family vans. As well as limiting the traffic-free zone to a block or two, the bureaucrats insisted on a wall of barriers dividing the tramlines from the pedestrianized roadway. Since kids with delicate fingers and toes were being allowed to play in the space, I guess this makes some sense – but the arrangement split the street into two. Perhaps it would be better to pedestrianize streets that don’t have trams.

We can gauge the hostility of government to this sort of policy by the fact that it has taken 16 years to get to this. Another indication is the way activists like Paul Zimmerman are praising officials’ great wisdom, cooperation, vision, and Really Hard Work, when we know full well that all the overpaid bureaucrats have done is one tiny thing right for a change after 16 years’ foot-dragging.

The public themselves, judging by the HKFP pictures, took to the Concrete We Will Let Humans Use for Today Scheme rather like ducks would take to water if they had been brought up in the Sahara Desert. They’re not quite sure what it is, or whether they’re supposed/allowed to get near this unknown phenomenon, but they could probably relax and learn to enjoy it, if it became a regular thing.

To which our officials will reply – OK, once every 16 years.


Now here’s a strange thing: Allen Zeman – pro-establishment/Beijing landlord – endorsing pro-democracy (not to say totally anti-Communist) Apple Daily.


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10 Responses to Blink and you missed it: traffic-free Central

  1. Joe Blow says:

    Al Semen vocally opposed Occupy Central. Then he belatedly realized that that was not a hip thing to do and, worse, that he was no longer hip himself, despite all the funny hats and silly costumes. So now he is switching sides -rather desperately- in a vain and lame attempt to be ‘cool’. LKF is over -so 15 years ago- but he still has to pay for a new tower that nobody seems to be interested in. The area that was once bustling LKF now belongs to mainland hookers and tourists, ‘refugee’ drug pushers from Africa and triad punks.


  2. I was hoping you could avoid showing the Semen photo. It pops up in the MTR and is quite disturbing. He looks like Mini Me with Downs Syndrome.

    You apparently missed the Cyclothon in Kowloon which made the whole waterfront traffic-free most of the day. But then it is way out of the Soho Triangle, isn’t it?

    They gave me horrible herb tea and green pea snacks even though I wasn’t competing. My whole life is a Cyclothon. I don’t need big wheels, Lycra and AN EVENT to prove it.

  3. PCC says:

    Occupy Central closed core Central overnight and produced a pedestrian paradise that last for months. It was pleasantly quiet, uncrowded and noticeably less polluted.

    Did anyone from the Transport Bureau notice? It’s doubtful.

  4. HK1980 says:

    Boycott LKF is something I have been doing since about 2005…until this weekend just gone (I was forced to go).

    If it is “over”, then the dense crowds have not heard about it. Every bar, and all the streets were rammed to bursting. Two drinks cost 270 bucks (I know…go to 7-11 next time)…but the point is that I don’t think semen is going to struggle to pay for his tower.

  5. HK Phooey says:

    The (accidental) Government pedestrianization scheme aka Umbrella Movement outside of their offices was a great success. I recall pleasant walks from Central to Wanchai, office workers eating lunch, and a pleasant, community-like atmosphere which otherwise I had never experienced in HK. The Government mandated proposal ends up being clumsy and forced whatever Zimmer-frame says.

  6. Red Dragon says:

    Oh isn’t LKF a total toilet? And to think l used practically to live there when Club 64 was open. At least I can rejoice in the fact that l never put any moolah into Semen’s grubby little paws.

    Funny thing is, wherever l go in SE Asia, people express a desire to go to HK, and in particular to LKF. Needless to say, l disabuse them of their fantasies.

    “Boycott Lan Kwai Fong”. Now that’s an idea to conjure with. Facebook page, anyone?

  7. Joe Blow says:

    Wow, I notice LKF’s PR company kicking in, in the late afternoon, after a emergency meeting no doubt, trying to redeem whatever is left of their tattered image.

    Yes, the place is no doubt packed to the rafters, and we all know with what sort of people. I was once threatened by a ‘doorman’ of what was once the “California Bar”, or something. The punk demanded that I paid him $ 1500- because my dog pissed on the tree opposite the joint (which he didn’t, by the way). Fat chance: I led the Mongkok Boy Wonder all around the steamy and hot streets of Central (he kept following me) until I reached the gate of my building, where I disappeared in a flash.

    That was fun.

    Which brought me to the conclusion that Al Semen was employing – and still is- triads on a “sometimes you see them and most times you don’t” employment contract. Also known as ‘ghost employees’. Very common in places like NYC and the backstreets of Montreal.

  8. steve says:

    And please remember that the Umbrella Movement also pedestrianised Nathan Road from Mongkok to TST for 79 glorious days. That’s over here on the other side of the harbor, where y’all never go.

  9. dimuendo says:


    Concur. no traffic, no noise (save shouting on odd occasions, when HK’s finest did nothing to nip in the bud but allowed to progress). No pedestrians at risk. Less disruption. Quicker to get to work (HK to Mongkok).

    I still have photos taken from my office window of the junction of Argyall street and Nathan Road completely empty and also packed out with people, no cars.

    My favourite photo however remains the one of the tent opposite the door to our building, with tent entrance roped off with a sign in Engish and Chinses sayin “no entry, private”!

  10. dimuendo says:

    My apologies for the typos. Be nice if Hemlock was to provide for a larger font, and type in black not grey. My eyes are not what they were, and they have never been good.

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