Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - Page 4 News List

City councilor slams Taipei over traffic

ANTICIPATED SOLUTION:A Parking Management and Development Office worker said parking at the National Palace Museum had been enlarged to deal with the issue

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Solidarity Union Taipei City Councilor Chen Chien-ming, center, and Shilin District residents yesterday protest in Taipei over growing noise and traffic problems in the district they say is caused by the influx of Chinese tourists.

Photo: Tsai Ya-hua, Taipei Times

The recent increase in Chinese tourists combined with poor city land management has caused a traffic bottleneck throughout Taipei’s Shilin District (士林), Taipei City Councilor Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) of the Taiwan Solidarity Union said yesterday.

He said the city had failed to provide parking for the waves of tour buses drawn to the district’s attractions, such as the Shilin Night Market and the National Palace Museum, and has closed the tour bus parking lot next to the Shilin Presidential Residence to allow for the construction of a hotel.

The Shilin mansion was a principal residence of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and has become a major attraction for Chinese tourists since it was opened to the public in 2011. The Taipei City Government Department of Information and Tourism estimates that there were 102,600 visitors to the mansion and the surrounding park last month.

“Because there is simply no place to park, tour buses have taken to parking along the roadside, clogging surrounding alleyways,” he said, adding that residents have been besieged by noise and pollution.

Shilin Police District traffic section chief Tsai Lian-yuan (蔡煉勇) said his department lacks the personnel to effectively deal with the problem. As bus drivers stay on board at all times, they move as soon as police approach, preventing fines from being levied, he said.

He estimated that illegal parking in the area has tripled since the parking lot was closed last year.

Chen said that, while residents welcome tourism, the city government has to provide adequate parking and called on the city to construct new parking lots on two empty lots near the Shilin Presidential Residence.

Parking Management and Development Office engineer Chang Jun-kai (張鈞凱) said parking at the National Palace Museum was expanded this year to deal with tour buses. As the parking lot is a 5 to 10-minute drive from the Shilin mansion, bus drivers can drop off passengers before heading over to the parking lot, he said.

He said constructing additional parking lots on neighboring empty lots was unfeasible, because the city has already reserved the sites for construction of public housing units.

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