As it is well known, the government launched the public discussion of two important proposals last week. One concerns the Urban Master Plan; the other is about constructing a new line for the Light Rail.
One week ago, I focused here on the first. That one is a complex document with far-reaching impacts and will undoubtedly be the object of further and careful analysis by all those interested.
Let us today look into the second one, the proposal for the designated East line. It is a line that will connect the Border Gate with the Taipa ferry terminal and, from there, with the rest of the network.
It looks like one of the best proposals on urban development matters in many years on a first approach. For sure, there are many uncertainties still hanging over the project.
Its price and time frame are not defined, which inevitably limits the scope of any pondered discussion. There may be questions about the exact layout of the line or the option for a long tunnel.
It would be interesting to know what other alternatives were considered and why they were discarded. Those uncertainties certainly diminish the usefulness of the public discussion, which should not be a minor consideration.
That aside, any transportation solution that effectively removes traffic of people and, therefore, vehicles from the peninsula is in all likelihood a good idea or, at least, one worth of serious attention. That line may easily connect with the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge, providing convenient access to the network for those crossing that landmark.
There will be another layer of traffic, so to speak, removed from the city’s central areas. If that was coupled with an active incentive to re-direct traffic from the Border Gate to The Lotus Bridge, we might see wonders in preventing congestion, noise, and pollution in the city.
The idea has another positive tinge to it: it appears to bury the peninsula’s planned line for good. It never looked like a great idea, and its usefulness was and still is more than questionable. It might disturb, if not disfigure, the central city area for a long time to come.
Although not formally discarded, it disappears as a priority and seems destined to die in oblivion. So be it. The other options on the table, the connections to Hengqin, Barra, and Seac Pai Van, all seem more sensible and justifiable.