Taipei mayor: Goal of designating Dihua St. as a pedestrian zone on Sundays is to make money

(Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Sunday (July 22) that the goal of designating the southern section of Dihua Street (迪化街) in the city’s historic Dadaocheng area as a pedestrian zone on Sundays is to help store owners make money.

Ko visited Dadaocheng on Sunday afternoon and stopped to worship the gods at Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟). The temple is popular among young people who come to pray for a happy love life and good job.

Taipei City Government has designated the southern section of Dihua Street as a pedestrian zone from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, beginning on June 3.

Ko told reporters that Dadaocheng is a representative area of Taiwan in the 1920s, and today it is the place Japanese and Korean tourists are most attracted to.

Ko said that the idea of turning a street into a pedestrian zone is based on the anticipation of “enabling everybody to make money.” When the stores make money, other stores will want to follow the example, he said, adding that a popular attraction is only useful when local stores make money.

He jokingly praised Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple for hoaxing a lot of Japanese visitors to come here and enabling a lot of people to make money.

He told reporters that foreign tourists who spend only 15 minutes visiting Dadaocheng “are not the type of tourists we want,” so the pedestrian zone is designed to allow them to stroll around the area throughout an entire day. However, selling things that foreign tourists or Taiwan’s young people want to buy is also very important.

As more stores selling culture and creative products begin to occupy Dadaocheng, some store owners are concerned the traditional industry in the area might decline. Ko said that Dadaocheng’s basic merchandise is tea, Chinese herbs, dried foods and cloth, so how to strike a balance between the traditional industry and the cultural and creative industry is indeed a big issue.

A part of the Dihua Street (photo taken from Wikepedia)