Accessible Arcades makes Taipei Friendlier──Taipei Arcade Pavement Leveling Program
Arcades are a special intermediary space between streets and shop houses. In Taiwanese, it is called Ding-A-ka, which is building style commonly seen in cities in Taiwan due to its sub-tropical and rainy climate. The space provides pedestrians with shelters against rain or wind and allows commercial activities to continue despite the rain. However, due to insufficient regulation of the arcades coupled with private property rights in the past few decades, the issue of the arcades with their often-rugged pavement surface was not resolved. This caused inconvenience to pedestrians and impacted the streetscape of the city. For years, the issue remained unresolved, making what used to be a cozy space unfriendly and inaccessible to pedestrians. Hence, as a modern and developed city, the Taipei City Government (TCG) started with a people-oriented concept and took the initiative to push forward the Arcade Pavement Leveling Program in 2002. Pavement leveling can be compared to a tailor cutting a brand new cloth and fitting it perfectly on the pavement. By doing so, it is expected that a friendlier arcade space can be created for pedestrians in Taipei.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin inspecting arcade pavement leveling and kicking off the inauguration ceremony
Former Minister of Interior Liao Liaoyi inspecting the progress of the arcade pavement leveling project in 2009
Chiayi Mayor leading officials in a visit to Taipei to observe the arcade floor flattening in Taipei
2. Content of Execution
The Taipei Government planned to smooth and improve the pavement surface of the arcades in Taipei. The total pavement length in Taipei is estimated to be 170 thousand meters. With train stations, scenic spots, commercial districts and hospitals as the main nexuses, the project expanded in a radiant manner from linear to planar. Over the years, the arcade pavement leveling program is gradually being completed. In addition, feedback from shop owners and local opinion leaders were gathered to take into
account both leveling and preserving local features.
History of Arcades
1802 (During the Qing Dynasty):In the year seven of Jiaqing (1802), the Dalungtung Forty-four Kan ("Kan" meaning street frontage) Townhouse (West of Bao-an Temple) was preserved with an arcade, a representative example of arcade architecture.
1936 (Japanese Colonial Period):In 1936 the Taiwan Governor promulgated the City Planning Decree, the provisions of which specified that buildings constructed on the road along the Administrative Offices should come with an arcade or a similar architectural structure.
1965:The Taiwan Province Construction Management Rules were amended and promulgated; the rules specified that any construction base facing the road more than 7 meters in length in the business district must leave space for the construction of an arcade.
1974:The Taipei City Government began to pilot regional road elevation planning (which continued through 1981).
2005:“Taipei City Land Use and Control Rules by Regions” was amended and promulgated, in which the rules set out for any construction base facing the road of more than.
3. Executive Means
To successfully bolster the program, the TCG established an inter-departmental Special Group for the Arcade Leveling Program in 2007. Through regular meetings, the group aimed to resolve issues encountered by contact persons of different departments in a prompt manner. Each district office provided assistance at the very beginning in communicating with shop owners owning arcade pavement. Upon getting their consent and feedback, a workshop was organized to gather all the parties concerned to overcome any doubts these parties might have about the program. The City Government started out well through effective communication. Arcade pavement is actually private property; consequently, the improvement program required the cooperation of property owners.
Stone-breaking (lead time: 1 day)
Cement-sand installation (lead time: 1 day)
Step board placement (lead time: 0.5 day)
Tile installation (lead time: 1 day)
Tile grouting (lead time:0.5 day)
Surface smoothing (lead time: 1day)
In technical and engineering terms, this program was not difficult; however, communicating with the parties involved became a big challenge and a very critical key to making this program successful. The toughest part of the arcade leveling program was the beginning stage of visiting one household after another to inform residents about the program. With the assistance of the heads and the chief secretary of the district offices, communication successfully proceeded. Since most of the first floors of buildings are designed for commercial purposes, many shop owners were not willing to take part in the program because the pavement leveling work would last for a lengthy period of time, which would negatively impact their business.
Some shop owners even asked for compensation when the leveling work was in progress. The officer in charge of communication always replied with a smile: “The pavement leveling cost is being shouldered by the Taipei City Government and you still want compensation?” As a matter of fact, most shop owners worried that their businesses would be affected by the leveling work. However, with on the public’s approval of the Taipei Arcade Pavement Leveling Program and a working period reduced to ten days, shop owners became more willing to cooperate as the impact from the construction work was minimized to the least possible. This made it possible for the leveling program to be comprehensively and successfully carried out in Taipei.
4. Achievements and Visions
The total length of arcade pavement leveled from 2002 to 2012 was 143,100 meters. Smooth, beautiful and cozy arcade pavement can be seen in many areas of the City. Parents pushing baby carriages, the disabled in a wheel chair and ladies with wheeled shopping carts all appreciate the smoothness of the pavement. Due to positive public feedback and their expectation of having smooth pavements throughout Taipei, the City Government plans to continue allocating a budget for the arcade pavement improvement. By continuing to do so, Taipei can become an “accessible” city living up to international standards.
View from the No. 209, Sec. 3, Zhongxiao E. Rd.
View from the No. 118, Sec. 3, Chengde Rd.
View from the No. 60, Sec. 1, Xinsheng S. Rd.
View from the No. 91, Sec. 2, Hangzhou S. Rd.
The Achievements of the Taipei Arcade Pavement Leveling Project