Sun, Dec 21, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Taipei unveils new 500m bicycle path in Gongguan

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government opened a 500m bike route yesterday in front of the Taipei Water Park, connecting Gongguan (公館) to the riverside bike path that runs from Sindian (新店) to Tamsui (淡水), in a bid to provide a better environment for the growing number of cyclists in the city.

To avoid affecting sidewalks and roads in the area, the government established the route on land in the water park, tearing down an outer wall to allow the path. The reconstruction cost the city government NT$38 million (US$1.1 million).

Taipei City’s Water Department suggested that residents could relax in the park and then ride along the bike route to the riverside in the afternoon or at night, as the department installed lighting systems along the route.

Addressing the launching ceremony at the park, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said the route would provide a safer and more convenient environment for cyclists and promised to increase the budget for urban renewal projects in Gongguan to bring more culture and art to the area.

A budget of NT$900 million will be listed in the next three years for urban renewal projects in Gongguan, including reconstruction of Treasure Hill (寶藏巖) and construction of Taipei City Hakka Cultural Park.

Treasure Hill, formerly home to war veterans who came to Taiwan with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) after its defeat by the Communists in 1949, is being rebuilt as the city government plans to turn the community into a park. Hakka Cultural Park, on the other hand, will be constructed on the current site of the Taipei Children’s Museum of Transportation, and is expected to be completed next year.

Taipei City and Taipei County now have more than 500km of dedicated bike paths. Taipei City has provided 16,000 racks for locking bicycles, including 1,100 double-decker racks outside MRT stations, and plans to to add more.

The department said it would expand the sidewalks on Dingzhou Road and create more bike routes in the near future.

In response to growing concerns abo0ut bike theft, Hau said the city government would instruct police to put more effort into stopping the crime.

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