Fri, Mar 20, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Ko outlines city plans for ‘smart, green’ development

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday outlined plans for “smart and green” city development, announcing that bike paths will be laid alongside all of the capital’s major arteries.

In a speech at the Green Together City-to-City Sustainability Dialogues also attended by Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), Ko outlined his vision for a “green city” characterized by zero growth in electricity consumption and usage of public transportation by 80 percent of city residents.

Ko outlined policies aimed at increasing use of public transportation, saying that new bicycle paths would be laid alongside all city roads 40m wide or more.

“Presently, we have bicycles, but we don’t have bicycle lanes,” Ko said, referring to the rapid growth of the city’s YouBike service.

Taipei Department of Transportation Commissioner Chung Hui-yu (鍾慧諭) said the city has budgeted NT$1.2 billion (US$38 million) this year for bicycle path construction costs. City plans call for quadrupling the length of city bicycle paths to 209km by 2019.

Ko also announced that the city was considering introducing a car-sharing program, as well as reforms to more closely integrate the city’s bus lines with the MRT, update bus computer systems and enable fees for bus rides to be charged based on distance.

He said the city also plans to promote green architecture and use special water-porous pavement to reduce Taipei’s urban heat-island effect.

In addition to “green” policies, Ko also announced policies for “smart” technological reform, highlighted by changes to the city’s free WiFi service.

“With more than 6,400 hot spots, Taipei Free consumes between NT$10 million and NT$20 million every year, but even I myself have trouble using the service,” Ko said.

He said that in the future, the city would merge Taipei Free into the national ITaiwan service, dropping the number of hotspots to less than 2,000, while integrating additional private hotspots operated by businesses, such as Starbucks and 711.

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