After weeks of construction the new, two major streets in Kunming have been converted into one-way streets for all motorized vehicles except buses, part of a campaign by the municipal government to address a worsening traffic situation that is increasingly affecting the city.
As of New Year's Day, the major east-west roads Xuefu Lu (学府路) and Yieryi Dajie (一二一大街) have been turned into complementary one-way streets. Xuefu Lu now runs from west to east and Yieryi Dajie from east to west. Public buses have been given a bidirectional lane on both roads to encourage more use of the city's public transportation system.
Kunming traffic police have printed and distributed 50,000 flyers announcing the major change for these two major traffic arteries. Initial reports have been generally positive, but police have voiced concern that the changes to the road have made traffic move much faster than before. This combined with the tendency of many pedestrians to cross the road away from intersections or during red lights is a source of concern that the number of accidents involving vehicles hitting pedestrians could increase.
To make things a little easier for pedestrians, there have been three new pedestrian bridges installed on Xuefu Lu. A new pedestrian bridge is also being installed at the intersection of Yieryi Dajie and Jianshe Lu (建设路), it is scheduled to be completed by January 20.
According to the Yunnan Daily, there have been many drivers that have been using the bus lane illegally, typically after traffic police have finished their work days. The days leading up to January 10 will focus on educating drivers regarding the changes, but from the 10th onward, drivers on either street who speed or violate the new rules will have their license plates photographed by the newly installed hidden cameras (电子眼) with punishment issued afterward.