The Taipei City Government announced yesterday plans to expand the Ximending (西門町) pedestrian zone westward from Kunming Street to Kangding Road and southward from Emei Street to Chengdu Road for the next three months. If the trial is successful in attracting more shoppers to the area, it could become permanent.
Starting on Saturday, motor vehicles will not be allowed to enter the expanded area from 6pm to 11pm on weekdays and from 11am to 11pm on weekends.
“As the city has developed eastward, the Ximending area has gradually lost some of its appeal to newer competitors on the east side [of town]. We hope to attract more shoppers and revive the area’s business by creating a better and safer shopping environment,” Chen Po-yan (陳柏延), division chief of Taipei City’s Urban Planning Department, said after a municipal meeting.
The Ximending pedestrian zone was created in 1999.
The city government will consider making the expansion permanent after it assesses the popularity of the trial run, Chen said.
The Ximending pedestrian zone is the country’s biggest pedestrian zone and attracts an average of more than 3 million shoppers every month. Chen said expanding the zone would improve the atmosphere for shoppers.
Chen urged residents to take public transportation to Ximending as hundreds of parking spaces for scooters in the expanded zone will no longer be available.
The city government will also establish summer weekend pedestrian zones on Taoyuan Street, which is famous for its old beef noodle shops, and on Yuanlin Street from July 5 until September.
The department said cars will not be allowed to enter Taoyuan Street between Boai Road and Baoqing Road from 10am to 9pm during weekends. Yuanlin Street between Boai Road and Chongqing S Road will be vehicle-free from 11am to 7pm during weekends.
Chen said local business representatives had asked the city government to establish pedestrian zones to attract more customers.
The city government will consult residents and local businesses after the summer concerning the success of the pedestrian streets and decide whether to make the zones permanent.