The Tianmu shopping area in Taipei City is suffering because of the construction of the Taipei Physical Education College campus, residents and a city councilor said.
Residents of Tianmu, accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤), on Saturday criticized former Taipei mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for insisting on the project despite objections from nearby residents.
Opposition to the construction stemmed mostly from the fact that the site used to be a park where residents would spend their leisure time, Wu said. They also questioned whether the land could support large buildings, as it used to be a wetland.
Construction was halted last month because the project did not pass an environmental impact assessment, Wu said.
Association for Tianmu Residents' Rights chairwoman Yang Li-mei (楊麗美) said that by starting the construction and closing parking lots on the site, the city administration had effectively cut the flow of shoppers.
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Now that the lot is closed, the number of shoppers had dropped by more than 50 percent, he said.
Before construction began last year, only about 8 percent of nearby store fronts were not leased. That figure has risen to about 20 percent.
An official at the city's Department of Education said the department had made 110 parking spaces available and would add another 200 once the campus was completed next year.
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