Mon, Sep 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Neihu congestion due to economic focus, bad urban planning, Taipei mayor says

END OF AN ERA:Ko has given up taking public buses to work after repeatedly being asked to sign an Olympic name correction referendum petition on his commute

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je yesterday speaks to reporters at a recycled furniture auction organized by the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Traffic congestion in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) is due mainly to failed urban planning under previous municipal administrations, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Ko’s remarks came after former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Saturday said that traffic in Neihu has not improved since his time as Taipei mayor, which ended in 2006.

Ma said he promoted the development of the Neihu Science Park during his terms as mayor and increased its output value, but did not expect that the traffic congestion problem would persist.

A possible reason is that the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in the area is still unfinished, Ma said.

“I have said it many times: The main problem in Neihu is not traffic, but rather failed urban planning,” Ko said. “Its population increased from about 75,000 people to 300,000 people, but the total road surface has hardly increased.”

He said the Ma administration had modified Neihu’s urban planning 12 times, all through executive orders instead of going through the city council.

“I believe this case will become an example in the history of public administration, as a case study of complications caused by bad urban planning,” Ko said, adding that he could convene a meeting to review why traffic problems in Neihu persist.

Neihu has an output value of about NT$4 trillion (US$130.2 billion), Ko said, adding that planning for the district was led by economic considerations and that the approach led to congestion.

How to find a balance between economic development, government control, environmental protection and legitimacy is something worth studying, Ko said.

In other news, Ko has stopped taking the bus to work and has since Friday been using a car provided by the city government.


The mayor decided to do so after last week twice being approached on his way to work by people urging him to sign a referendum petition to change the nation’s name from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taiwan” at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Ko had been taking the bus to promote the use of public transportation to reduce air pollution, his wife, Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wrote on Facebook yesterday.

She said she was saddened that the campaigners’ behavior had forced him to give up on realizing his ideal.

“My husband is running for the local office, not for president. I cannot understand why these people are advocating independence-unification issues and rectification of the nation’s name with him, and not to the Presidential Office,” Chen said.

“Even if there is a referendum, my husband and I will each only have one vote, so you guys are using the wrong method on the wrong person,” she said.

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