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March 6, 2014

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Traffic plan prioritizes green travel

CYCLISTS are set to benefit from a raft of new measures outlined yesterday by the city’s traffic management authorities.

As part of a 10-year plan to make transport in the city more environment friendly, all new residential developments will be required to have dedicated cycle lanes as part of their infrastructure. In established areas, new barriers will be erected between cycle lanes and main roads to provide better protection for cyclists.

The green policies were outlined in the city’s second traffic white paper, released yesterday. The document is intended to provide direction and guidance for traffic management officials for the next decade.

While the paper makes recommendations for new residential areas, it does not address the problems currently faced by cyclists in downtown areas.

Marc Tessier, an expatriate who cycles to work, said: “I can understand why there aren’t cycle lanes on every road in the downtown area because there isn’t the space. The problem is that the lanes are misused. Not everyone abides by the law.”

Marc said he often has to steer around cars that have been thoughtlessly parked, and on several occasions has been confronted by vehicles driving toward him in the cycle lane.

“On Zhenning Road and Shanxi Road N. I often end up having to ride along the sidewalk,” he said.

As well as promising more cycle lanes, the white paper recommends improvements to the parking policy for cyclists at Metro stations. By providing better facilities and improved security, the government aims to encourage more people to use both their bikes and the subway for their daily commute.

One of the goals of the new plan is to have cycles, the Metro, buses and walking account for 80 percent of all journeys made in Shanghai. To help achieve that, the subway network will be extended to more than 800 kilometers, from 567km, while a new, fast Metro line will connect the city’s two airports.

In contrast to the favorable policies for public transport, the white paper seeks to discourage the use of private cars. Authorities have set a target to keep the number of registered cars in central Shanghai below 2.5 million. The total is currently 2.12 million, of which 1.77 million are private vehicles.

Among the controls on private cars will be the introduction of expiry dates for license plates and tighter restrictions on plate transfers. In some areas, drivers might also be charged to use roads that are often congested.

All taxis operating in the city will be required to meet the China V standard for emissions, while buses must adhere to the China IV standard.

More bus lanes will be opened, while a new regulation will ensure that at least 50 percent of all buses run on clean fuels.


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