Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday attributed the multitude of trees felled by Typhoon Soudelor to the tiny planting pits used to plant road trees, which he said was due to the design of the city’s bicycle lanes, which have edged out the trees.
Ko told a news conference that he found out about the problem while inspecting trees uprooted by the typhoon.
He said he would arrange an interdepartmental meeting to achieve a balance as to how much space should be reserved for pedestrians, cyclists and trees, and come up with a solution in a month.
Meanwhile, city officials said they hope to clear away all road trees felled by Typhoon Soudelor by the end of this month.
City Park and Streets Lights Office Director Chang Yu-huei (張郁慧) said that, as of yesterday, the agency had finished removing felled trees and broken tree branches obstructing traffic on 81 busy roads citywide.
She said that employees at all agencies under the city’s Public Works Department had been working around the clock to bring the city’s traffic up to speed, adding that the office had prioritized 200 major road sections where tree removal work was to be carried out.
The city has been fraught with felled trees after Typhoon Soudelor, with the number of collapsed and slanted trees totaling more than 6,000, Chang said.
Saying that her office is “grossly understaffed,” she encouraged Taipei residents to help remove fallen trees in parks and green spaces in their neighborhoods, saying these areas are part of their daily life.
The office plans to clear all roadways of trees by the end of this month, she said.
Office of Horticultural Engineering Deputy Director Chen Chun-cheng (陳俊成) said efforts would be focused on sawing fallen trees into smaller pieces, as the majority of trees felled by the typhoon were large, making work to remove them time-consuming.
“The top priority is to ensure that traffic is uninterrupted,” he said.
He said that sawn trees would be temporarily laid on curbs and traffic circles, adding that they would be removed in time.
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