‘1940s technology won’t solve parking woes’

A transport journalist says he’s “disappointed” with the government’s new automated parking system in Tsuen Wan, calling it old-fashioned, and pointing out that there are no charging points for electric vehicles or any connection to a smart city network.

The car park opens in Tsuen Wan on Thursday and provides six three-storey structures in which cars can be parked above others. The government said at the launch on Wednesday that it had identified Tsuen Wan for the first of half a dozen such schemes because of a lack of spaces in the area and problems of illegal parking.

James Ockenden, editor of Transit Jam, said on RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme that it won’t deter illegal parking, most of which involves trucks that can’t fit into the new car park.

“So what we need is better kerb management,” he told RTHK’s Samantha Butler. “We need green loading bays, we need loading management in this city, rather than just building new things for private car owners, who are the wealthiest people in the city and have this new resource.”

He said the technology used the in the car park was slow-moving and dated.

“This is technology we saw in New York City in 1947. You just drive the car in and it will shuffle them around and park them. But there’s no integration to a sort-of smart city or wider integration to the city’s parking network or kerb management. There’s no EV charging there,” Ockenden added.

Keith Tang, the Transport Department’s principal project coordinator, said at the launch on Wednesday that the new system, in an open-air car park that has been leased to an operator for five years, would double the parking capacity and help solve illegal parking in the area.

Tang added that the government plans to introduce automated parking systems in six other car parks in future, including one in Pak Shek Kok in Tai Po which is expected to go into operation by the end of next year.