Walking and the pedestrian environment
November 5, 2001
Brief visit (Taipei)

Notes from a short visit to Taipei

Monorail throughout city; damaged by typhoon so I didn't have the chance to ride it.. think it might have just been the station near my hotel that was damaged

City streets filled with scooters, buses, and taxis. And scooters.

One interesting comment by a colleague "Live here for a month and you'll get used to [riding a scooter]". It was in reply to my amazement that anyone could drive a scooter in the daredevil, death-defying manner that I saw. But her statement probably applies to transportation in general. Do people adapt to the environment, no matter how unique? If so, should we be focusing on adjusting the infrastructure and hope its used in the way we intended? Does policy adapts to the way infrastructure is used? If so, should we be focusing on changing people's behavior directly, rather than setting up rules which may not be enforced? Maybe both are true?

I'm really curious to find how the scooter phenomenon happened.. it almost seems like the bicycles so famous in Beijing and other Chinese cities were just traded in for scooters.

* Night market Narrow streets with heavy pedestrian traffic
* Both sides of the street lined with shops, small restaurants
* Middle of the street and any empty spot filled with portable food stands (remember saying to colleague "Look out, you're about to be run over by a sausage store"), and clothing and accessory displays
* Strangely, not closed to motor vehicles.. scooters and taxis drive through occasionally, sometimes patient and sometimes not

* Sidewalk sometimes treacherous At times it seemed that someone had jack hammered the sidewalk to do repairs or something, then forgotten to finish the job. In the area I was staying to the south of downtown, it seemed impossible to walk without keeping an eye where you were going.

* Only bus to/from airport Taipei airport has a confusing array of boisterous bus companies, tough to tell which one will get you where you want to go fastest.

Posted by Rob Ketcherside at November 5, 2001 7:58 PM
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