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28 August 2017

WALK DVRC A WORLD-CLASS PUBLIC SPACE IN THE MAKING

Established with a mission to realise a world-class, people-centric environment for Des Voeux Road Central, Walk DVRC Ltd. today unveiled a masterplan, comprising research projects, community-based activities and fundraising initiatives with participation from civic societies, corporate sectors and the government.

Under the blueprint, DVRC, one of Hong Kong’s most central, polluted and least people-friendly stretches of road – from Pedder Street to Western Market – will be transformed into one of the world’s most enviable, dynamic and inclusive public spaces.

As a first step, small-scale measures, such as widening of sidewalks and paving improvements to enhance the pedestrian walking experience in DVRC have already been implemented by the Transport Department.

An interim scheme has been proposed which includes turning a section of DVRC from Hillier Street to Morrison Street into an area accessible only by pedestrians and trams on certain weekends or public holidays  Semi-permanent traffic diversions will be introduced. The scheme will enable the Government, transport and town planning sectors and other relevant parties to gauge public responses and feasibility for further opening of DVRC to pedestrians in the future.

In the long-term, DVRC could be transformed into a world-class public space with streetscape and urban realm enhancements in place to improve pedestrian safety and to bring about a more interesting, comfortable and inclusive place-making experience. The zone can serve as an alternative public open space where exhibitions and events can be held during “non-road” hours. Rigorous street management measures will be introduced. Loading and unloading activities will be scheduled during designated hours to reduce the impact on shops and businesses.

Walk DVRC has applied to be recognized as a non-profit organization under Chapter 88. Once the status is confirmed, an Ambassadors Programme will be launched to garner financial support amounting to HK$2.5 million from charitable foundations and the corporate sector.  The funds collected will be used on streetscape improvements, placemaking and community planning efforts, studies, outreach activities with secondary schools and universities, among other initiatives.

“DVRC can serve as a key project for an improved and better-planned urban environment in the historical Central Business District of Hong Kong,” said Markus Shaw, Chairman of the Board of Walk DVRC.

“DVRC can join other world-class cities who have reaped the benefits of ‘pedestrian-first’ overhauls of decaying urban environments.”

Street management research and a traffic management study are currently being undertaken to progress the Walk DVRC project.

The Traffic Impact Assessment will help better understand the implications on routes and diversions, and will take into consideration how the Central-Wanchai Bypass, the Shatin-Central MTR link and other new MTR lines, and the proposed electronic road pricing system will change traffic patterns, making diversions from DVRC possible.

Community engagement in the form of guided walking tours, historical and cultural walking maps and partnerships with NGOs and educational bodies will be organized.

The phased implementation approach will ensure the integrity of this area’s significantly rich heritage and culture is respected. A walkable DVRC can form the core of a cultural and historical loop connecting Tai Kwun, PMQ, Man Mo Temple, Western Market and Central Market.

Although formally established this year, the Walk DVRC project has been 17 years in the making. Since 2000, architects, urban planners, government officials walking enthusiasts and the community at large have dedicated much effort to make DVRC more walkable.

                                                                                 

Over HK$6 million has already been invested to understand the issues, constraints and opportunities for holistic placemaking along this currently choked artery.

A trial road closure and examples of public open space use in September 2016 demonstrated not only that the project was technically feasible, it enjoyed huge community support and was attended by over 14,000 people.

Walk DVRC’s board and steering committee are staffed by experts in master planning, infrastructure and urban design, real estate, architecture, public space, health and wellbeing, and marketing and communications. The initiative also has NGO and corporate backing, and is supported by numerous academic and civic organisations such as the DVRC Friends and other collaborators.

More about Walk DVRC:

http://www.walkdvrc.hk

Media Enquiries:

Cynthia WAN

+852 93014177

cynthia@inspireconsulting.hk

Anna LEE

+852 91501890

annaswlee@gmail.com