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September 14, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

City imagines car-free world ... for a day

A NUMBER of city roads will be off-limits to many vehicles for World Car-Free Day on September 22.

Next Thursday, part of downtown Xuhui District will be closed to private cars, city traffic authorities said yesterday.

The ban will be in place from 9am to 4pm, although buses and taxis will be allowed to enter the area, authorities said.

Hundreds of cyclists are expected to ride through the 7-kilometer route to highlight this year's theme that "the city's future lies in greener traffic."

Last year's World Car-Free Day, which promotes alternatives to car dependence, was held around the World Expo site.

The World Expo 2010 was viewed as a great opportunity to raise public awareness about greener forms of transport.

More than 90 percent of Expo visitors arrived at the site using public transport such as the subway and buses.

However, Car-Free Day has tended to be more symbolic than substantial since Shanghai first took part in the event in 2007.

Then a 12-hour ban was put in place in several areas within the central business district.

In 2008, this was cut to six hours and fewer streets included.

Two years ago, the ban on cars was reduced again, this time to two-and-a-half hours.

According to requirements issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development that supervises World Car-Free Day, each city should allocate at least 12 hours that day for the campaign.

But city traffic authorities say busy road conditions and scattered construction sites "make requirements relatively hard to comply with."

In the past, drivers complained that the limited nature of the ban had little effect on traffic and that controls and lack of adequate warning led to surrounding streets being filled with parked cars.

Cars are the biggest source of carbon emissions in the transport industry. Shanghai has more than 1.46 million private cars.


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