Sat, May 02, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Farglory road expansion ‘terrifying,’ residents say

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

An area on a sidewalk near the Taipei Dome construction site is cordoned off, leaving only a narrow passage for pedestrians and cyclists to pass through.

Photo: Sean Lin, Taipei Times

With road expansion related to the construction of Taipei Dome complex under way, Taipei residents say work on a sidewalk near Guangfu S Road is seriously threatening their safety, while stores close to the construction site say business has dropped significantly since the project began last month.

The road expansion has seen Farglory Land Development Co. (遠雄建設) fence off an area on the sidewalk more than 100m long, leaving a narrow 2m-wide strip for pedestrians and cyclists to use.

Couples pushing babies in strollers and people in wheelchairs were sharing the passageway with people on YouBikes yesterday, while a cross-country cycling team also went dashing through.

Residents living nearby said the situation has continued for almost three weeks.

Pedestrians questioned by reporters said the project has caused them great inconvenience.

“It is really quite inconvenient for road users. I wonder why the Taipei Dome project has occupied the sidewalk to such an extent. This is over the top,” a passer-by surnamed Chien (簡) said.

“It is really dangerous, just terrifying,” another pedestrian surnamed Hsieh (謝) said, referring to a hoist operating behind a fence near the sidewalk.

Store owners near the fenced-off area of the project are also up in arms.

A woman surnamed Lee (李), who owns an ice-cream parlor, said fewer people have visited her shop since the road expansion began, as many people now avoid the area by taking detours, while another woman surnamed Chiu (邱), who runs a collectors’ store, said her shop has seen a sharp decrease in the number of customers.

Meanwhile, Songshan Tree Protection Volunteer Union member Kuo Tai-yan (郭台晏) accused Farglory of intruding on the sidewalk by setting up fences around several trees it plans to relocate.

She said that the corporation provided a document signed by former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and then cordoned off the trees, even though Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has said that the relocation of trees should not begin before Farglory works out a consensus with the union.

Farglory spokesperson Jacky Yang (楊舜欽) said the expansion forms part of the Taipei Dome project, adding that the Taipei City Government approved the company’s application to carry out the work.

He said that the current level of construction is only the beginning of what is required by the dome project because the entire sidewalk is set to be demolished to make way for two additional lanes on Guangfu S Road, while a new sidewalk closer to the complex has been planned.

The tree protection volunteers at the site are the ones who are illegally occupying the sidewalk by setting up booths, he said, adding that the fences will remain until the day the union removes its booths from the sidewalk.

An official at the Construction Planning Office, who asked to remain anonymous, said there is nothing the agency can do to resolve the standoff between the two parties, as all of the aforementioned actions by Farglory are legal.

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