Tag Archives: pedestrian

Shenzhen by Bike

Shenzhen in 1980. Photo courtesy of nicomusings.com

Shenzhen skyline in 2013. Photo courtesy of twistedsifter.com

                             By  JP McNeil – Shenzhen fascinates me. The transformation from a collection of farming and fishing villages into a megacity over the past 30 years – in my lifetime – is still hard for me to wrap my head around. I understand it conceptually, but as I walk around the city, I have a hard time imagining what it would have looked like, say, as I entered kindergarten. Historic photos help, but not a lot. With so much for a planner to focus on, I’m a bit surprised to find myself writing about bicycling and bike infrastructure in Shenzhen. Not that I don’t like bikes – I’m a fair-weather bike commuter and I love trekking around town in the summer months – but it’s not my specialty or passion. Nevertheless, a couple of things pointed me in the direction of this blog.  The first was the detritus of my cubicle. The man who previously occupied my cube took a job in Shanghai, departing abruptly and leaving many of his belongings behind, including a fold-up commuter bike. I was told I could help myself to anything in the cube, so I did (the box of green tea was great, too).

The other push came out of a simple question from a Chinese colleague. Shortly after my arrival at CAUPD, I was asked to give a presentation about my past experiences as a planner in Oregon. My studio politely listened to me talk about land use policy in Oregon and small-town economic development, though they seemed only vaguely interested.  At the end, one of them asked “What about bike planning? Why Portland?” I had not even mentioned bikes in my presentation, but my city’s reputation preceded me. This led to a request for a “lecture” on bike planning in Portland and also got me wondering about the experience of biking in the two cities and how they compare.

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Reasons to be a Fearful Pedestrian in China

A chaotic intersection in Chongqing

Jenny’s excellent post on being a pedestrian in Yubei District inspired me to think a bit more about the legal basis for our observations about pedestrians in China. I have noticed over the last 2 weeks that Chinese pedestrians always yield to cars even when they are using crosswalks and have a green walk light. They don’t seem irritated or angry at having to yield, but instead appear fearful and I’ve seen many pedestrians run across the crosswalk. This was surprising to me given how daring they seem to be about entering the roadway (as Jenny points out). My experiences travelling to similarly traffic intensive places, particularly Delhi, I am usually struck by how confident pedestrians are that cars will avoid hitting them at all costs regardless of when and how they cross. A quick Google search turned up the following paragraph from Factsanddetails.com. If it is accurate, it does clarify the situation quite a bit…

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