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Kunming to once again hold no-car days

By in News on

After an absence of nearly one year due to the renovating of the city's second ring road, no-car days will return to Kunming next Tuesday. City officials said the day would be used to promote health and environmental consciousness by encouraging Kunming residents to walk or ride bicycles.

Kunming became the first Chinese city to hold monthly no-car days in 2007, with all private cars being banned within the first ring road – and sometimes as far as the second ring road - on the last Saturday of each month.

No-car days were suspended in the autumn of 2008 after the government determined that banning private cars for a day was untenable given the large-scale traffic infrastructure overhaul taking place across the city.

This coming Tuesday (September 22) will mark the first no-car day held on a weekday, which will have implications for people who are accustomed to driving to work.

From 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, buses and taxis will be the only motorized vehicles allowed within – but not including - the city's first ring road. The first ring road consists of Huancheng Xi Lu, Huancheng Nan Lu, Huancheng Dong Lu, Huancheng Bei Lu and Yieryi Dajie.

Kunming, often derided by locals and local media as ducheng (堵城, or 'Traffic jam city'), has one of the highest car ownership rates and some of the worst traffic among Chinese cities.

The effect of the rapid increase in car sales in Kunming was compounded by ineffective governmental road planning, best exemplified by the corruption case of Hu Xing (胡星).

Hu was deputy director of Yunnan's Transportation Bureau and Kunming Deputy Mayor from 1995 to 2006 and was responsible for road construction and city planning. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for taking more than 40 million yuan in bribes after being arrested in and extradited from Singapore.

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kunming has one of the highest car-ownership rates? i thought that's one of chengdu's dubious claims to fame too. maybe all chinese cities like to boast that? whatever, carfree days are the bomb.

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