Monday, April 20, 2009

A letter to the Taipei City Mayor

This was a post to the Taipei City Mayor in May 2008. You can find the mayor's mailbox here

Dear Mayor,

Yesterday I saw on the news that Ma Yin-Jeou marked the bike lanes in Taipei as being "international standard". Like previous years, when I saw the identical news report about the bike-day, I felt more depressed than optimistic seeing Taipei change in favor of bikers.

So I decided to finally send you a quick note to voice out my opinion.

Maybe (I do disagree though) the few bike lanes along the river side and the ones (that have detoriated) near the city hall are up to those (which?) standards for recreational biking. But if Taipei city goals is to bring biking as a safe alternative for DAILY commuting - as mentioned in the reports - I would not be able to agree.

I have been biking every weekend (recreational) for the past 3 years from Taipei City to Yang-Ming Moutain and those areas. I wouldn't recommend anyone to daily commute on a bike to work. The city is just not safe and convenient for bikers to get quickly from A to B by bike.

After 13 years living in Taipei I just can't believe Taipei city still does not have any roads that connect south to north and west to east with 100% dedicated bike lanes.

The attached video is a video that compares New York with other (European) cities. I hope the Taipei city government can find great opportunities and ideas from this.


Unfortunately my personal feeling is that Taipei is closer to NY conditions than other city in the world and NY is being regarded to be very far behind "international standards" You can see for yourself in the video.

So when talking about "international standards" it may depend to which country or city Taipei is being compared with, since the standards vary a lot between countries. I wonder if Taipei officials ever visited other countries to take a look at how other citys organize their bike lanes and traffic.

I understand Taipei is really crowded but this should not prevent Taipei city from trying to make a change.

I could send you a file with some more suggestions but I can't attach files to this message

Thank you very much an I hope you can put a visible stamp on your term as mayor and Taipei city's infrastructure by making a difference for bikers in the coming years and let daily commuting on a bike become a true and realistic alternative.

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