The 1km long bicycle path between Taipei’s Jingmei Bridge and Jingmei River opened yesterday, connecting the 111km of riverside bicycle trails in the city.
With the completion of the 1km bike trail on the right bank of the Jingmei River in front of Shih Hsin University, cyclists can take a ride along the Tamsui, Keelung, Xindian and Jingmei rivers that connect the Muzha (木柵), Neihu (內湖) and Beitou (北投) areas.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) joined hundreds of cyclists yesterday morning at Jinmei Bridge to celebrate the completion of the “last mile” of the city’s riverside bicycle trails, and promised to keep the trails safe and eco-friendly for city residents.
“After we complete the last mile of the trails, city residents can take a ride from Taipei Zoo to Tamsui, or to Bitan Lake in Xindian without having to compete for space with cars and scooters. Riverside parks and recreational areas are also more approachable,” he said.
Taipei City’s Hydraulic Engineering Office began expanding and widening the bike paths in 2008 and improved the surfaces, lighting and signage on the routes.
Taipei City’s Public Works Department Commissioner Shannon Lee (李咸亨) said the 1km long trail is equipped with a water level warning system. Warning lights will light up if the river’s water level reaches 9.2m or higher, and cyclists can leave the trails through exit ramps that are set up every 200m along the trail.
For residents without bicycles, the city government set up bike-rental stands along the trails offering reasonably priced bike-rental services, Lee said.
In related news, the Council for Economic Planning and Development said yesterday that with the cycling craze continuing unabated, Taiwan has already built 1,323km of bike paths and has connected all the paths in the northern region.
The council estimated this total would increase to 3,823km of paths by 2012.
The council said it started to plan for a bicycle path network in 2002 with the aim of building a healthy and superior sports and leisure environment. The council invested NT$1.86 billion (US$63.2 million) on the planning and construction of the bike paths.
Starting in 2009, the Executive Yuan began a four-year plan to build a larger network of bicycle paths, adding NT$4 billion to the project.
Taiwan is known as a bicycle kingdom, exporting 5 million bikes worth US$1.45 billion last year, the council added.
Additional reporting by CNA
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