Sun, Sep 20, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Cyclists hit the road to celebrate Carfree Day in Taipei City

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Motor traffic is engulfed by thousands of cyclists on Highway No. 64, which connects Banciao City and Bali Township in Taipei County, yesterday. The newly completed expressway was closed to motor vehicles for a mass bicycle ride to celebrate Carfree Day.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

The opening of the newly constructed Bali-Sindian Expressway in Taipei County yesterday coincided with Taipei City's celebration of Carfree Day.

More than 10,000 cyclists flooded the 29.4km expressway for an unhindered ride that normally would have been impossible. The new expressway cuts the travel time between Bali and Sindian from one hour to about 25 minutes.

The cyclists also enjoyed rare unobstructed rides on the streets of Taipei yesterday.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) joined approximately 3,000 cyclists for a 12km ride from the Meiti Riverside Park in Neihu District (內湖) to the shopping precinct in Zhongxiao E Road.

Part of the area was closed to motor vehicles for a “green transportation exposition.”

Hau said by closing an area that is usually the busiest on weekends, the city government was trying to draw the attention of more people to the annual event.

Carfree Day, in its eighth year in Taipei, has helped promote environmental protection and won the support of many residents, he said.

“We hope every day will be car free day in Taipei City, moving it toward becoming a ‘green city,’” he said.

Also participating in yesterday's activity was Eric Knight Britton, a sustainability activist who introduced the concept of Carfree Day in 1994 in Spain.

Britton said that since then, more than 2,000 cities worldwide have held Carfree Days.

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