The bicycle lane along Dunhua North and South roads will be opened to cars and scooters on weekdays starting on April 12, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday, acknowledging the failure of one of his keynote municipal projects.
Under the new regulations, after that date the lane will only be made available exclusively to cyclists on weekends.
The bicycle lane, which cost more than NT$100 million (US$3 million) to build, was opened last July. Taipei City Government initially billed it as a major municipal construction project to promote environmentally friendly cycling as a mode of transport.
The 4.6km lane, however, has been largely occupied by cars and taxis from the outset and has attracted mostly negative comments from motorists angered by the increased congestion it has caused.
Even cyclists have not been happy with the lane, citing its poor design. Cyclists have been confused by the different sections colored green, red and gray.
Hau acknowledged the low usage of the bicycle lane, but added that the city government would continue to promote cycling.
“The rate of of use of the Dunhua bicycle lane has remained low since its launch, and so we have decided to make some adjustments. We will take the width of the road and traffic flow into consideration when setting up cycle lanes in future,” he said yesterday at City Hall.
The city government now plans to adopt the design of the bicycle lane on Beian Road when establishing other lanes in downtown Taipei, Department of Transportation Commissioner Luo Shiaw-shyan (羅孝賢) said.
The department shrank the width of each vehicle lane on Beian Road to 3m, expanded the sidewalk and implemented a special zone on the sidewalk to serve as a bicycle lane, Luo said.
Once the MRT’s Xinyi and Songshan lines have been completed, the city government plans to expand its cycle lane project to Xinyi and Nanjing East roads.
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