Beijing Traffic Congestion Reaches Breaking Point
On several nights last week while cycling home I was caught in traffic jams around the Gongti area so bad that even my trusty bicycle couldn’t get through the melee. Two lane by-roads were transformed into four lane highways by cars lining up along spaces normally reserved for bikes and parked vehicles, which meant a single tricycle-transporter wedged between vehicles could render whole blocks completely impassable. This morning the Global Times confirmed my suspicions that Beijing’s traffic congestion has finally reached bursting point.
In an article headlined “Record breaking gridlock heralds holidays,” the Global Times wrote, “The morning rush hour gained a bonus hour Sunday, with more than 100 roads becoming congested on the first day that had no vehicle-license plate ban ahead of the two Chinese mainland holidays. But even Sunday's gridlock could not compete with the record-breaking 140 traffic jams of Friday night.”
They’re predicting even better news for the coming weekend, which will comprise working days due to China’s insane “holiday” schedule: “Authorities expect evening rush hour to last till after 9 pm, even 10 pm.”
The number of cars in Beijing hit 4 million last December and last month the People’s Daily claimed the city’s car fleet is now growing at an average rate of 1,900 cars a day, which means the capital will have around 7 million cars by 2015.
ChinaSMACK carried some images of last weekend’s chaos in a post last night. The post also carried this alarming claim about Friday night’s jams: "At 3:30 in the afternoon, a Route 68 bus departed Changqiao and didn't arrive at Liuliqiao until 8:30, 13 kilometers taking 5 hours."
Aint development grand?