Driving in China can be a pain, for reasons I hardly need to list here (but will, since Web Logs were created for just this sort of venting) -- traffic, severe traffic, traffic caused by fights between traffic cops, traffic regulations, traffic accidents.... Luckily, China's Ministry of Public Security has an extensive test to prepare this country's would-be drivers for the stress, frustration, and Weltschmerz of the road...
The above is by photojournalist Sean Gallagher, who found himself stuck in traffic earlier today just outside of Beijing. As he writes on his Instagram:
Sunday was World Car Free Day, striving to remind people of the earth that cars pollute and are actually less necessary than you think (unless you live in Suburbia, USA). More than 150 Chinese cities observed World Car Free Day, according to Xinhua, though it was apparent that some cities observed it much better than others.
When the first paragraph in a story about traffic references helicopters and motorbikes, you pretty much know what you're in for. China Daily:
Citing "extremely bad influences," the police bureau in Tangshan, Hebei province has fired two traffic wardens who were caught on video fighting in an intersection, completely neglecting their job.
The above picture comes via George Ding of the Beijinger (you might remember him as our first Three Shots guest). He writes:
If the cars going west hadn’t initially blocked the intersection, this wouldn’t have happened. Had the cars going north and south not rushed in and just waited one cycle for the intersection to clear, this wouldn’t have happened. Had the cars going east not rushed in to be blocked by the cars going north, this wouldn’t have happened. And had the cars going west not rushed in only to be blocked by the cars going south, well, you get the idea.
We love that term, wish we would’ve thought of it ourselves. Zombie commuters. Commuters because they’re trying to get somewhere. Zombies because you’d have to be brain-dead to drive into traffic in Beijing. As SCMP puts it: “It’s like a scene out of American television show The Walking Dead, said a microblogger on Sina Weibo, after photos... Read more »
Part of our series on the year that was in fun videos, fun rants, and fun posts.
In response to public outcry over a January 1 regulation stipulating that drivers must stop on yellow lights, traffic management authorities have promised to upgrade road signals, according to China Daily: “The pace of signal upgrading will quicken, the traffic management bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on Thursday.” But it’s... Read more »
Red means stop, green means go, yellow means very, very slow... unless you're in China in 2013, in which case, red means stop, green means go, yellow means stop... unless you're driving an Audi, in which case, green means go, yellow means go, red means whatever you feel like.
China recently increased the penalty for running yellow lights: offenders stand to lose fully half of their 12 “points” (if a driver loses all 12, he/she has to go through training and retake a driver’s exam) and must pay up to a 200 yuan fine. Some have interpreted the new regulation, which into effect yesterday,... Read more »
This should be everyone’s fear about living in a city with such crippling traffic. In Beijing on Friday, a woman in her 50s died in the back of an ambulance because it was stuck in a gridlock. How bad was it? According to the doctor, Wang Yuzhu, as reported by Sina: “The scene of the... Read more »
As if we needed more proof that it’s difficult getting from point A to B in this city, here’s documented proof. Via Global Times: It took Beijingers an average of 52 minutes to commute to work this year, the longest journey time among 50 cities nationwide, according to a report from the Chinese Academy of... Read more »
This is the music they play in movies when a hero is about to die. It's dramatic, it builds upon its own tension, it tells a story of sorrow, sacrifice, and honor, or fulfillment, or redemption. (In fact, I'm pretty sure it comes from a movie, but I couldn't tell you which one.) And it's incredibly overwrought, never quite right for our world but fine for an alternate reality made in a studio.
Were you on the road yesterday? Around rush hour, perhaps? If so, we offer our sincerest condolences. Also: HA HA! SUCKER! YOU WERE ON THE ROAD! According to the newscast above, it took nearly two hours to drive the 2.5 kilometers from Liangmaqiao to Dongzhimen starting at 5:30 pm. I’ve done the math for you:... Read more »
Did you know there are 14,694 people per square kilometer in Beijing, and five million people own cars as of January? Furthermore, did you know that the area inside Second Ring Road, just 62.5 square kilometers, makes up 6 percent of Beijing's total area yet accounts for 30 percent of all traffic? Or that within Second Ring Road, government compounds take up an incredible 58 percent of space, with the implication that the government's transportation needs -- think private cars, probably Audis -- does more to cripple the traffic grid than anything else?
A road called commonly known as Guijie is one of the busiest streets in Beijing every evening thanks to the overwhelming number of restaurants on either side. In fact, that's all the street is known for -- restaurants, usually catering toward tourists and expensive.
A storm just passed Beijing — the skies are now clearing up, I see a wisp of blue — and on that note, we’d like to show you what happens sometimes when it thunderstorms in this country. Attention: above. Yesterday in Shenyang, Liaoning province, a traffic jam stretching more than a kilometer was said to... Read more »
I first encountered the following diagram — origins unknown* — two or three years ago, but considering it was revived as recently as a month ago — I noticed a bunch of friends passing it around on Facebook — it’s possible it’s been around even longer. And why not? Everything depicted is true, more or less:... Read more »
A confluence of factors led to what appears to be at least a two-mile traffic jam in northwest Beijing on Saturday night. (Prepare to gape in horror around the 30-second mark as the camera pans out.) It was raining. It was a long block. It was in Zhongguancun, an incredibly busy part of town known for its electronics stores and colleges. And, most crucially, a traffic light had broken. This is my every nightmare about the city, frightening precisely because I -- and any Beijinger, really -- could easily find myself stuck in that paralyzing morass of postmodernity, equipped with no salve for a spiking blood pressure except heinous imaginings of unspeakable acts to perform on sentient, suffering beings. The abyss gazes back indeed.