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Friday, August 24, 2012

Chung-ching Rd. Bike Trail: Tax Dollars At Work

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Nice tree. They line the entire road as part of a beautification project dating from about 10 years ago.

All summer long I have been monitoring the construction of the Chung-ching Rd (中清路) bike trail. For months the government has been digging up and widening the sidewalk in a flurry of construction that had many of the local residents mystified. Few people I talked to knew what was being built. Finally, we got our answer-- a bike trail. 

I was suddenly very interested.

Residents of Taichung know that Chung-ching Rd. (中清路) is one of the major viaducts in the area as it starts in Taichung City as Daya Rd. (大雅路) or the Highway 1-B and goes all the way out to Taichung Harbor as the Highway 10. 

The road bisects several local bike trails that can lead from the Taichung Science Park all the way to the Houli Science Park and the Hou-Feng Bike Trail. Chung-ching Rd. passes Taichung's local airport and Air Force base. There are numerous schools on or near this route, as well as several markets and Chung-you Department Store is just a few blocks from Daya Rd. This is a hugely important and well traveled stretch of asphalt. 

I was curious how the government would proceed with its plans to integrate the bicycle into the city's transportation scheme. 

I finally received my answer. 

Yes, an oddly patterned strip of red and yellow tiles that gives riders a lane that runs unobstructed for 10-15 meters before encountering a telephone pole, tree, or parked automobile. This pattern continues for the extent of the route. 

I am surprised... but not really surprised... that a bike lane on such an important viaduct could be so poorly done. 

Then again, projects like these are not about bicycles, traffic, safety, sustainable living or transportation. These projects are about budget surpluses, political grandstanding and largesse to feed political patronage networks. *sigh!*

Passing driveways and doorsteps

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The smooth ride over tiles

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Note the truck and telephone pole