Pedestrian Walkway System

– Sarah
1.Origin and development of pedestrian walkway system
Kwai Chung is mainly composed of the cargo terminal, residential and industrial areas. All these programs require efficient traffic circulation for transport and logistics. Moreover, grade-separated crossing facilities effective vehicular traffic and pedestrian flows in heavy traffic district, where safety is protected.
Separate pedestrian walkways (footbridge and subway) and at-grade crossings were planned as part of the new town scheme back in the 1970s. Till the 2000, pedestrian walkways continued to expand in accordance with buildings’ and destinations’ completion. Beginning in 2010, the government introduced universal accessibility to install barrier-free access1.
2.Land use coverage
The pedestrian walkway system connects different parts of Kwai Chung, including different land zones. Measuring the 5-minute walking distance from the landing point of pedestrian walkways, most parts of Kwai Chung are reachable, only not covering the cargo terminal. The pedestrian walkway is managed by its respective owner. For both public and private walkways, they belong to public space, but it requires the consent of the owner to carry out public activities.
3.Accessibility and walkability
The walkability of the Kwai Chung takes into several considerations. Comparing the walkability of Kwai Chung to other districts, it is moderate. The calculation here includes the connectivity, degree of mix-land use, and density in residential area2.
Regarding the width of the walkways, walkways of larger-scale are often wider in width. Meanwhile, during the planning stage of the walkways, the predicted flow determines the width.
Regarding the scale of the network, separate pedestrian walkways are mostly across the street and seldom is there an intra-zone connection. Meanwhile, the number of crossing is limited and fragmented, reliance on the separate pedestrian walkway is needed.
Talking about the transport network in Kwai Chung, it is extensive and dominates the street level, providing convenient transport access. As Kwai Chung plays an important role in transport, roads determine the land zoning. As seen in the Google Map3, roads under or above separate pedestrian network has slight to moderate congestion, meaning the existing walkways help to relieve traffic congestion.
Less-visited areas gave a higher chance of illegal dumping due to lack of public monitoring, lack of CCTV, and a low prosecution rate. Illegal storage is also often found in the undercroft. The government introduces undercroft greening to increase the area of greening and prevent dumping.

With destination

As transitional space

Utilitarian walking

Residents, workers, service providers & receivers

Without destination

As recreation space

Recreation walking

Elderly, artist, homeless people

Most parts of walkways in Kwai Chung serves as transitional space.

4.Contradiction between planning and vision

Planning for Tsuen Wan New Town Development

Vision for transforming Hong Kong into walkable city



  • The traditional approach to traffic engineering design is to minimize pedestrian crossing green time in favour of vehicular traffic green time. At locations where traffic is congested, frequently no pedestrian crossing is allowed, or is unprotected or there is provision of piecemeal footbridges, pedestrian subways and staggered crossings causing inconvenience to pedestrian movements in particular the elderly and the disabled.
  • Footbridges and underpasses should not replace pedestrian access at-grade, and thereby should be used as a last resort.

  • A crossing gives a higher quality of service to pedestrians. There is no need to go up and down the stairs, and the route is more intuitive, which means it is easier to find your way when wandering around.
5.Opportunities and constraints

5.1 Mixed land use
Problem: Kwai Chung has a moderate distance between land use, and low to moderate connectivity among destinations.
Opportunity: The higher the degree of mixed land use, the higher accessibility to various land use.
Constraint: Land use conflict.


5.2 Continuous pedestrian network
Problem: Fragmented pedestrian network that provides merely point-to-point access.
Opportunity: Continuous pedestrian network (e.g. extensive street, footbridge, and subway network) to enhance site connectivity.
Constraint: Logistics vehicle adaptability. Potential to become a commercial-led project.


5.3 Pedestrian condition
Problem: Vehicle-led safety issue. Aging population. Dumping in oversight area.
Opportunity: Safe and hygienic pedestrian conditions are pre-requisite of pedestrian flow. Pedestrians can passively monitor pedestrian conditions as well.
Constraint: Logistics vehicle adaptability. Logistics-led dumping.


5.3 Dynamics of pedestrian walkway
Problem: Walkway merely as transition space. Limited pedestrian interaction. Regulations in public area.
Opportunity: Public activities and green create dynamics in pedestrian walkways.
Constraint: Pollution. Narrow path width.

1.Highway Department. (2020). Universal Accessibility Programme. Retrieved October 23, 2020, from

2.Yi, S. & Ling, K. K. (2020). Walkability and Its Implications for Planning Age-friendly Cities: Evidence from Hong Kong. UPI, 35(1), 47-52. Doi: 10.19830/j.upi.2019.677

3.Google Map. (2020). Google Map. Retrieved October 23, 2020, from,114.1207675,15.26z/data=!5m1!1e1

4.Ng, S., Lau, W., Brown, F., Tam, E., Lao, M., & Booth, V. (2012). Walkable City, Living Street. Civic Exchange.