Residents of Greater Taichung have recently launched a signature drive to protest against the city government’s decision last month to change the names of Chungcheng Rd (中正路), Chunggang Rd (中港路) and Chungchi Rd (中棲路) to “Taiwan Boulevard (台灣大道).”
As of yesterday, 40,000 people had signed the petition.
According to the person who initiated the signature drive, the name “Chunggang Rd” had been in use for many years and was well known.
“I don’t understand why some people would just change the name,” the person said, adding that the amount of money that goes into changing the names of roads shows how arrogant government representatives are.
“Instead of spending money on changing road names, why don’t we use the money on public welfare or city infrastructure,” the person said, adding that it was one of the main reasons he had started the event.
“Hopefully we can make our voice heard by Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and keep the original name of the road,” the person added.
Commenting on the issue, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taichung City Councilor Chen Shu-hua (陳淑華) said the petition showed that the city government’s policies were out of touch with public expectations.
It was also evident that the government failed to spend enough time communicating with people over the decision, Chen said.
DPP City Councilor Huang Kuo -shu (黃國書) said a man involved in international trade surnamed Lin (林) told him that since the name change, he had had to alter all the documents that mentioned the road name.
Lin also said that he had to explain to his foreign partners that his company had moved, Huang said, adding that Lin complained that he had to spend large amounts of time explaining the matter.
Both city councilors also said that because the city government had already allocated funds and were starting to implement the policy, there would probably be different opinions if the name was changed back.
The councilors said they had told the mayor that if he did not respect the will of the public then he should be ready for stiff opposition and that the city government should think how to explain their policy and its intentions to those who had already signed the signature drive.
Saying that the city government respects the opinions of netizens, after learning that 40,000 Taichung residents had signed the petition, Greater Taichung Department of Civil Affairs Director Wang Chiu-tung (王秋冬) said the city government would redouble its efforts to promote how and why the policy was implemented.
According to Hu, who represents the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the name “Taiwan Boulevard” could help attract international attention and with “Taiwan Boulevard “as a window, people from other countries could learn more about Taiwan.”
Hu also expressed the hope that “Taiwan Boulevard “could turn into Taiwan’s version of the French capital’s Avenue des Champs-Elysees.”