United Daily News Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 21, 2015
Executive Summary: A Taipei City Government inspection team says the Taipei Dome has five major defects. The dome may have to be demolished. But the composition of the city government inspection team, its inspection standards, and its computer simulation of emergency evacuation procedures also lack objectivity and have raised eyebrows. In any case, the alleged major defects involve public safety. Therefore they warrant public scrutiny. Massive public works projects such as these allow no room for error. We must seek perfection.
Full Text Below:
A Taipei City Government inspection team says the Taipei Dome has five major defects. The dome may have to be demolished. But the composition of the city government inspection team, its inspection standards, and its computer simulation of emergency evacuation procedures also lack objectivity and have raised eyebrows. In any case, the alleged major defects involve public safety. Therefore they warrant public scrutiny. Massive public works projects such as these allow no room for error. We must seek perfection.
The inspection team says that the Taipei Dome's biggest problem is emergency evacuation. This is indeed the most important consideration for all large public buildings. The Taipei Dome is situated in Taipei's bustling East District. That makes transportation, evacuation, and security problems even more serious. Leave aside the question of whether the the Taipei Dome should have been built here for the moment. The question today is another matter. The roof of the dome was originally supposed to be operable. But high costs led to a fixed roof, and required sinking the dome 10.5 more meters into the ground. This put infield and outfield viewers below the grade level, and made evacuation from the stadium much harder than from ordinary open stadiums.
The computer simulation parameters used by the Taipei City Government inspection team for building fires were far too simplistic. For example, what would we do in the event of a powerful earthquake or a terrorist attack? Mass panic is actually more dangerous than a terrorist attack. On New Year's Eve Shanghai held an open air outdoor event on the Bund. For reasons unknown, the crowd began pushing each other. The result was 36 deaths and 47 injuries. The Taipei Arena is an indoor space. If an accident occurred during an evening event, the crowds would inevitably try to escape. Imagine tens of thousands of people, colliding against each other in dark underpasses, amidst a power outage. The danger of being trampled to death would be far greater than on the surface in the open air.
Besides, mass panic involves more than seeking a quick escape. It involves being pushed sideways. Alas the few computer simulations of emergency evacuations show people moving ant like in an orderly fashion at a constant speed. The animations also assumed that once people were evacuated, they would not cross the street, but instead remain in the vicinity, prevented from leaving by fire department fire lines. Such assumptions are too bizarre to have any credibility.
City government inspections of the Taipei Dome resulted in computer animations such as the "tian long dong hua" (sky dragon animation). That was hardly a surprise. Earlier, the city government was asked how the Taipei Dome would be evacuated in the event of an emergency. Officials were actually quoted saying that "evacuations could be delayed, and take place in stages." This was just plain naive. Emergency evacuations are not elementary school student processions in which teacher instruct students on how to leave the campus. Emergency evacuations take place in a state of panic. The city government's response revealed the inadequacy of its emergency evacuation procedures. The city government wanted the Taipei Dome. Therefore it ignored everything else, including the need for professionalism.
The Taipei Dome is situated in the bustling East District. This makes evacuation extremely difficult. The design of the Taipei Dome emulates Toronto's multi-purpose Rogers Center, or "SkyDome". It combines sports, leisure, and commercial functions. Unfortunately the Taipei Dome emulated the SkyDome in a haphazard manner. The SkyDome is Canada's first domed stadium. Because it was so huge, Canada established a special committee, the TSSC, to research dome safety, operations, and evacuation requirements. The committee established clear site selection criteria. One. The dome must be situated next to at least one freeway and several major roads. Two. The dome must avoid residential areas. Three. The site for the dome must be large enough to cope with multi-functional use. Four. The design of the dome must consider emergency evacuation.
Toronto's SkyDome was designed more carefully, and kept evacuation in mind. For example, the area surrounding the SkyDome includes a zoo and other low-density functions. It includes two freeways, two major roads, and is next to Lake Ontario, allowing unlimited means of evacuation. The site of the Taipei Dome is nothing like that of Toronto's SkyDome. This if a fact. Unfortunately, the Taipei Dome specifications were established carelessly and in haste.
The basic egg shape design of the Taipei Dome emulates the Tokyo Dome. The Tokyo Dome is a second generation derivation of Toronto's SkyDome. Tokyo is densely populated. But the Tokyo Dome is situated in northeast Tokyo. Temples, schools, and parks keep the density low. Even then, the Tokyo Dome relies on three subway lines to disperse its crowds. Whenever evening events end, the Korakuen and Haru subway stations are packed. This raises serious concerns.
The conditions for the Taipei Dome are inherently unfavorable. This requires close scrutiny. But the same standard must be applied to the Taipei City Government inspection team. As with any public facility, the responsibility cannot fall exclusively on the construction company. The city government must assume responsibility for crowd dispersal and emergency response. Most importantly, those in authority must adopt an objective, rational, and scientific approach to the problem. They must run simulation exercises for different conditions. They must seek solutions rather than raise alarms. They must not abuse their official authority to intimidate businesses, attack political opponents, and shirk government responsibility.
To ensure that the Taipei Dome is safe, we must be both humane and pragmatic. We must run realistic simulation exercises. The most important thing is we must to work together in search of solutions, and not seek ways to intimidate each other. That will do nothing to improve safety and security.
但是，市府體檢團隊的成員、檢查標準及電腦模擬逃生設計等， 本身也因客觀性不足而受到質疑爭議。無論如何， 五大缺失攸關大眾安全值得各界重視， 如此巨型的公共建設不容有任何閃失，必須力求完善。
這確實是所有大型公共建設的首要考慮。尤其， 大巨蛋建在高密度的北市東區，交通、疏散及安全挑戰更是嚴苛。 先撇開大巨蛋選址失當的往事不談，今天的問題是， 原本可以開闔的蛋頂因為造價太高改成較便宜的固定式屋頂， 造成原有量體必須下沉才能容納。如此一來， 球場下挖到地下十點五公尺，內、外野觀眾席都低於地面， 疏散的難度較一般的露天球場高出許多。
這未免把問題看得太簡單。試問，如果發生強烈地震或遭恐怖攻擊， 那種情況該怎辦？此外，群眾慌亂引起踩踏的危險更恐怖。 今年上海外灘舉辦跨年活動，是在室外、露天的情況下， 由於不明原因引起群眾爭相推擠踩踏，造成三十六死、四十七傷。 而台北大巨蛋是在室內，若夜間大型活動發生意外， 群眾爭相逃離是必然的；若再加上停電， 幾萬人在黑暗的地下通道衝撞， 踩踏風險勢將高於在地表的開闊空間。
很遺憾，幾支公布的模擬疏散電腦動畫， 離場的民眾竟像螞蟻一樣有秩序地一隻接一隻，速度一致， 井然有序。同時，動畫也假設所有群眾離場後， 都會駐足擠在園區地面，被消防救火熱線擋在現場， 不會穿越馬路離去。這樣的動畫情境，未免太過離奇， 簡直不食人間煙火。
市府被問及大巨蛋發生緊急事件時如何撤離，官員的回答竟是： 可以「延遲散場，分散時間離場」，簡直天真。 緊急疏散不可能像國小放學排路隊，聽從導護老師指揮次第離校， 而是爭先恐後。市府的回應，充分暴露它對緊急疏散的素養太差； 市府一味嚴格要求大巨蛋，似乎也忘了自己應有的專業與角色。
台北大巨蛋的設計，是參考加拿大多倫多巨蛋的運動、 休閒和商業多功能規劃，卻未學到它的嚴謹態度。 多倫多巨蛋是加拿大第一個「天幕巨蛋」，因為量體巨大， 加國特別成立研究巨蛋安全、營運、疏散規格的專門委員會（TSS C），訂出選址標準：一，須有一條以上高速公路，數條主要道路； 二，避免周遭鄰接住宅區；三，基地面積足以應付多功能使用；四， 疏散應思考緊急狀態。
周遭是動物園等低密度利用區，兩條高速公路，兩條主要道路， 且緊鄰安大略湖，疏散量無限。 台北大巨蛋的現址遠不及多倫多巨蛋的條件，當然更應戒慎面對。 遺憾的是，連市府體檢大巨蛋的標準都是臨時訂的， 實在太草率與托大了。
東京巨蛋是沿襲多倫多巨蛋的二代天幕。東京都雖人口稠密， 但位於北東京文京區的巨蛋因有寺廟、學校、公園等配置， 密度較低。即使如此，只靠三條地鐵輸運人潮，每當子夜賽事結束， 後樂園、春日等地鐵站擠得水泄不通，依然是隱憂。
也應用於檢視北市府的態度。任何公共設施， 責任不可能都只落在建商身上，政府對人群的疏運、 緊急事故的因應，也都有相對的責任。重要的是，主政者要用客觀、 理性、科學的態度面對問題，針對不同的狀況模擬演練， 尋求解決之道；而不是一味在那裡危言聳聽，只想擺官威恫嚇企業， 或藉機打擊對手，而推卻自己應有的責任。