We’re a bit confused here: We just read a report (in Chinese) that says 70 mayors of Chinese cities have signed agreements that make World Car Free Day — September 22 — somewhat official. However, it seems that Beijing tried this in 2005 in an attempt to meet “blue sky” goals. Supposedly Chengdu was the first Chinese city back in 2001 to try to do something for WCFD. After the signing of this agreement, most of China’s big cities, such as Chongqing, Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, etc. are on board. Not only are they going to encourage more people to walk, bike and use public transit, they might even carve out a no-car zone in parts of the cities.
According to the statistics in this report, the World Bank estimates that air pollution costs about 5 percent of China’s GDP, and according to a Chinese economist, traffic congestion in Beijing causes a loss of 1.1 RMB per day or 400 RMB per year to every Beijing resident.
We don’t know what interesting factoids and statistics are available for Shanghai (they no doubt exist), but we’ve been quite embarrassed recently when we thought we could make it from upper Jing’an district to the Huaihai Lu district in about 10 or 15 minutes — we’ve always underestimated the time it used to take, as if our brains were stuck back in 2000. Or it was just wishful thinking along the lines of, “Oh, I won’t be that late.” We know. The first step to solving the problem is admitting you have one.
Back to the topic — we can’t remember if anything happened, even on a small scale, in Shanghai. Does anyone remember as far back as September 22?
Poster from webstrade.it.