Smoggy China to Observe World Car Free Day

china_traffic.jpg

The Financial Times reports that China’s cities will participate in this year’s World Car Free Day. These actions have a measureable effect. A recent
study found that when Beijing ordered 800,000 cars off the roads for three days last year, local nitrogen oxide air pollution fell by 40 per
cent.

More than 100 Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai are to take part in the country’s first official urban "car-free day", barring automobiles from selected areas and ordering officials to swap their black sedans for public transport.

The decision to join other urban centres around the world in holding "no car" events on September 22 is a reflection of growing concerns about congestion, pollution and global warming that are clouding China’s passionate love affair with the automobile.

In a report on the planned car-free day, the official Xinhua news agency said Beijing – where traffic jams are already a daily occurrence – was adding 1,000 new private cars a day, and that transport accounted for 20 per cent of society’s total energy consumption. The government news agency said 106 cities had signed formal pledges to take part in the car-free day and an associated week-long promotion of public transport.

"City government leaders must set an example in taking part in this activity by going to work by public transport, walking or riding bicycles," Xinhua said.

Photo: phoney/Flickr

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The World’s Greenest, Most Livable Cities

|
Writing in this month’s Reader’s Digest, Matthew Kahn, an environmental economist at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment, analyzed data from 141 nations and ranked the planet’s greenest, most livable places. While Northern European nations like Finland, Norway and Sweden fared well, the United States performed poorly in several categories, ranking #107 in Greenhouse gases, #106 […]

Congestion Charging on the Horizon for China’s Cities

|
Which Chinese city will be the first to try congestion pricing? Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai — megacities whose populations are on the scale of New York’s? Or second-tier but still mighty cities (think Chicago) like Hangzhou, Nanjing, or Xi’an? Road tolling à la American turnpikes and thruways is already extensive in China, as a means to […]

Three Pieces of the Manhattan Grid Will Go Car-Free on Earth Day

|
New York will create three car-free zones on Earth Day, April 22, as part of an initiative called “Car Free NYC” announced by City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez this morning. The car-free areas will be Broadway from the Flatiron Building to Union Square, the streets surrounding Washington Square Park, and Wadsworth Avenue between […]

Can We Learn from China’s Stimulus?

|
As our own economic-recovery package moves through Congress, Streetsblog Network member Stimulus Bike looks at the massive stimulus spending on transportation being rolled out in China, which was analyzed in a recent New York Times article. Much of China’s money is going to high-speed rail, according to the Times: Still on the bike in Beijing. […]