A think tank is calling on the government to appoint a special commissioner to oversee the management of the city's streets and make them more vibrant.
Civic Exchange said such a special post, created directly under the Chief Executive, could coordinate with nine different departments that handle road regulations.
The study said Hong Kong streets are now noisy, overcrowded and plagued by problems such as commercial touting, while red tape is strangling activities like al fresco dining, bazaars and busking.
Carine Lai, a co-author of the street management study, said there is currently a patchwork of outdated policies, laws and regulations governing the city's roads. She said a new commissioner position would improve the situation.
"This person should basically play the role of coordinating all these different departments and bureaus to coordinate the policy on street management, walkability and the public space, so that we can have a coherent vision on the street management," she said.
Lai said the government needs to update many laws to make the streets more pedestrian friendly.
She told RTHK's Wendy Wong that under current laws, hawking is defined as an activity involving a cash transaction, leaving sellers trying to pitch everything from mobile phone contracts to gym memberships and apartments outside it.