Pedestrianization makes strides in China’s cities
Walkable streets have been among the casualties of China’s swift urbanization.
But Wei Li reports for The City Fix that pedestrianization”is finally gaining momentum as cities recognize the economic and social benefits of walking. “Given the growing concerns about public health,” Li writes, “creating vibrant, walkable streets is becoming an urgent priority in Chinese cities.”
China’s government has adopted a national urban plan that encourages foot-friendly development. More than 100 cities nationwide have pedestrian-only streets, with entire car-free zones gaining favor, the article says.
An example is the Bund, Shanghai’s popular waterfront district. The area was previously marred by an 11-lane highway. From 2008 to 2010, seven of those lanes were removed, including an elevated portion. The result: a 70 percent decrease in traffic. More recently, the walkable section along the Huangpu River was enlargened.
But the author warns that these sorts of redesigns are usually limited to commercial areas and tourist hubs. “As a result, the average citizen still lacks walkable public spaces,” Li writes. That leaves many pedestrians forced to cross dangerous intersections and navigate roads without sidewalks.