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Beijing turning into jammed city [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2010-12-15 20:03:54 |Display all floors

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Drivers in Beijing face traffic jams every day and spending two to three hours on the road during rush hour has become a daily routine.

Holidays, bad weather, traffic regulations it seems any such unexpected situation can crush Beijing's vulnerable traffic.

Back in December, 2001, a sudden snowfall froze almost all the roads and left traffic at a massive standstill. Many people didn't reach home until the early hours of the next morning.

The latest epic jam was in September. Because of relentless rain, more than 140 streets ground to a halt during the evening rush hour, setting a new record.

In recent years, Beijing has become a "jammed city," as its citizens call it, where the traffic can be held up at any time of the day in any area of the city.

A local resident of Beijing said, "I live in Chaoyang District, and I think no path there is smooth."

Figures show Beijing residents spend the most time on the road. Even when the traffic is considered "smooth," people still have to waste more than 40 minutes stuck in congestion every day. And when it comes crowded routes, the figure soars to more than an hour.

A local resident of Beijing said, "I was once trapped in the middle of a road, and didn't move one meter forward in an hour."

It is estimated that drivers have to pay more than three hundred yuan per month for wasted time on roads.

The capital has been trying to find new solutions for its traffic congestion, from increasing investment in public transportation to its even-and-odd-numbered license plates policy. But the capital is still as jammed as ever. To ease its traffic congestion, the city has unveiled another ambitious plan and hopefully it can end the nightmare of Beijing's epic jams.

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Post time 2010-12-15 21:07:33 |Display all floors

Beijing solicits public opinion on traffic as congestion worsens

BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Never has Beijing made such great efforts in trying to improve its traffic conditions as the capital city witnesses the deteriorating flow of traffic, on the one hand, and unprecedented car sales, on the other.

The Beijing municipal government started soliciting public opinion on Monday on a draft plan that is designed to relieve the city's traffic problems.

According to the plan, the municipal government will take various measures, including speeding up construction of the infrastructure, improving traffic management and limiting car purchases or use, to improve the city's traffic conditions.

The announcement of the plan put an end to previous speculation that the government would usher in much stricter policies to control traffic in the city.

Earlier this month, the Beijing-based magazine Economy and Nation Weekly cited unconfirmed sources as reporting that Beijing would ask car buyers to obtain a parking permit before purchasing a car.

Moreover, every household would be limited to purchase only one car, and a 2-yuan "congestion fee" would be charged on every liter of gasoline or diesel sold, reported the magazine.

However, such harsh measures were not included in the draft plan made public Monday. At the same time, the previous rumors triggered a new round of car-buying.

A Beijing resident surnamed Tian had just put new license plates on his newly purchased Passat sedan.

"There have been rumors saying that Beijing will limit the number of license plates beginning next year," Tian told reporters at the car registration office in suburban Shunyi District.

"I had wanted to buy a FAW Volkswagen CC sedan. But the car is not available at the moment so I bought a Passat sedan made by Shanghai Volkswagen," Tian said. "It is important to obtain a license plate first, however."

Tian's concerns were shared by many who had expected a more stringent policy towards car purchases, and this dramatically boosted car sales, especially at the peak year-end season .

As of Dec. 5, the number of automobiles in Beijing increased 700,000 units from 4.011 million recorded at the end of last year, data from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau (BTMB) indicates.

During the week from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, Beijing had 21,000 new cars on the roads, translating to 3,000 more cars per day.

"The traffic in Beijing is in a very severe situation," said Song Jianguo, director of the BTMB.

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Post time 2010-12-15 21:08:14 |Display all floors
The limit on the purchase and use of cars will result in a sharp increase in car sales in the short term, said traffic researcher Liang Shiyu at the Tianjin Public Security Police Sergeant Institute.

Guo Jifu, director with the Beijing Transportation Development and Research Center (BTDRC), said the measures taken by the Beijing government, no matter whether it is to limit car purchases or the use of autos, seek to curb the traffic demand of the public.

"We need to use cars and control the increase of them in a scientific and reasonable way with so many people and such limited resources in our country," said Guo. "It is a difficult task for both the government and the citizens to tackle hand in hand," he added.

Wang Youwei, an urban traffic researcher at the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said Beijing needs systematic and innovative ways to solve its traffic problems.

Wang's comments were upheld by Gilbert Van Kerckhove, a Belgium business consultant who has lived in Beijing for three decades and previously offered suggestions to the city's traffic management officials.

Kerckhove said Beijing's roads and traffic rules are car-oriented and give too many consideration to cars, rather than to pedestrians and bicycles.

"The needs of pedestrians and bicycles are usually neglected with cars encroaching on footways and bicycle lanes, while buses and metros are in most cases overcrowded, making passengers very uncomfortable," he said.

The Beijing municipal government has, in recent years, invested heavily in metro projects in a bid to avert ground traffic pressure from shifting to the underground.

The city will have a total of 14 metro lines in operation once five newly built metros are added to the network by the end of this year. In contrast, there were only two metro lines before 2003.

While the metro network plays an important role in easing the traffic jams in Beijing, the ground traffic still has a gloomy outlook.

According to a report released by the BTDRC, Beijing's car population will hit 7 million by the year 2015, judging by the current growth rate.

However, the roads and parking lots within the city will only be able to accommodate 6.7 million cars , at most, by then.

At that time, the speed of traffic will only be 15 km per hour, equal to the speed of an easy jog, according to the report.

This will pose a great challenge for the city's traffic management, which experts say still has room for further improvements.

For example, Monday's draft plan proposes that shuttle buses for schools and companies should be allowed to use special lanes for public buses during rush hours.

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Post time 2010-12-15 21:08:58 |Display all floors
"A lot of traffic jams are exacerbated due to poor traffic management," said Zheng Yefu, a professor at the Peking University.

Li Hongyu, a city planning expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said traffic problems are deeply rooted in city planning.

Noticing that the city's population has been expanding at a greater pace than the city planners' blueprint s from five or ten years ago, Li said the growing population requires more public transportation, such as buses and metros.

Other experts have their own opinions about the city's traffic.

Yin Qiang, a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication of the Renmin University of China, said the government should encourage people to work from home.

"With a laptop and a network cable, people can easily connect with the world and telecommute," Yin said.

And Beijing traffic police suggested that one or two outbound lanes should be converted to inbound during morning rush hours, and vice versa at afternoon rush hours.

Also, carpooling is encouraged in the draft plan as a way to reduce car usage.

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Post time 2010-12-15 21:13:22 |Display all floors
Jam in the city, yummy !

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Post time 2010-12-15 21:30:48 |Display all floors
Beijing sees 3000 more private cars on road each day. It's an indication of a prosperous economy and soaring living standard of people.

Traffic jam is only one of the "growing pains".

It's better than some countries or cities that is not growing anymore.

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Post time 2010-12-16 11:21:05 |Display all floors
seems every big city got same problem.  shenzhen always has bad traffic too, while may little better than beijing.

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