Wed, Aug 24, 2011 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Dangerous traffic in Taipei

Thank you for your excellent newspaper, which gives very detailed information about Taiwan. The Taipei Times is indeed a great tool for everyone who wishes to understand society and the political scene in the country.

Thank you for also letting diverse opinions be expressed in your letters section. Contradictory debates are a must in a democratic society.

I want to reply to Shane Johnson (Letters, Aug. 19, page 8) and say how much I agree with his letter. Yes, Taiwanese have a strong sense of civility and it is amazing how safe we feel in the streets or on public transportation at all times (I invite anyone to ride the metro late at night in my hometown, Paris, where on certain lines and destinations, you have to count on luck to remain safe!).

Yet, when Taiwanese get in their cars or ride their scooters, a metamorphosis operates on their personality. All of a sudden, they seem to become blatantly unaware of the presence of pedestrians or fellow neighborhood residents. Of course, not all drivers act with such ruthless and dangerous behavior, but the bad examples sadly outnumber the good ones.

I love Taiwan, and Taipei particularly, after having spent about two years here during my university studies, and ever since I graduated I have kept coming back to vacation. It gives me the opportunity to notice the great changes and improvements the city has made in terms of infrastructure, cultural events, facilities and information for visitors.

Taipei, with its modernity, while preserving its traditions and heritage, has become a unique capital of a developed country, yet it saddens me when I see that its undisciplined traffic and congestion still give it aspects of a Third World country.

I dream of someday seeing a mayor working with the government to eradicate this plague that is a serious issue for people’s health and the environment. It is probably more dangerous to walk on the streets during peak hours than smoking a cigarette!

The time has come to change old habits if Taiwan wants to show its sincere concern about the well-being of its citizens.

ALEXIS SANDERS

Paris, France

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