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Bicycle riders worry about parking in downtown areas

2010-04-14 16:30 BJT

As an adherent to green transportation, Miss Pan recently went to the Beijing New World Shopping Mall on her bicycle. After coming out of a restaurant with her friends, however, Miss Pan found that the cost of her "green mindset" is a bit too high: her bicycle, which was made by Giant, was missing its bell and one of the reflectors had been broken.

As it gets warmer, some Beijing residents begin to travel by bicycle to the 13 areas where the parking fees for cars have been raised (such as the Beijing New World Shopping Mall, the Financial Street and the Zhongguancun). However, these people have realized that finding an area to park their bicycle is currently about as difficult as finding a parking space for a car was in these areas before April 1. Too few bicycle parking spaces in busy areas has dampened many young people's enthusiasm for green transportation.

Miss Pan: I do not feel that cycling is encouraged

Miss Pan lives in the Xingfujiayuan Community at Guangqumen. Several days ago, she and her friends dined out at the Beijing New World Shopping Mall. As the parking fee there was 10 yuan per hour, Miss Pan left her car keys in her home and rode her bicycle there. After reaching the mall, Miss Pan found that there was only a small bicycle parking lot between the two buildings making up the mall and all of the spots there were occupied by over 200 bicycles and 6 motorcycles. Ultimately, Miss Pan had to spend between 2 and 3 minutes squeezing her bicycle into an overcrowded line of bicycles.

About 300 to 400 meters away, there is another bicycle parking lot at the Ciqikou Subway Station. Though there is a lot attendant there, a sign beside the window of the bicycle shed which reads "you park your bicycle here at your own risk" still draws a lot of attention. The attendant explained resolutely: "we are not responsible for the security of all the bicycles parked here because a thief can unlock and steal a bicycle in a few seconds."

"I and many of my neighbors are willing to go to stores 2 to 3 kilometers away by bicycle because we then don't have to worry about traffic jams. In addition, it is very convenient to do so," said Pan. "But now I have to rethink this issue and I temporarily will not go shopping by bicycle because I cannot afford to lose my bicycle, which costs me more than 1,000 yuan." This time, Miss Pan may have to spend at least 50 yuan having her bicycle repaired.

There are not adequate bicycle racks in the areas where the parking fees have risen

Cyclists face similar embarrassments in other areas where the parking fees for cars have been raised, such as nonstandard bicycle parking lots and ineffective management. In an area around the Oriental Plaza in Dongdan, there are only two bicycle parking areas: one is at the west gate of a bookstore and another is on the east of the Arts and Crafts Building of China. If one goes to Xidan from Dongdan by bicycle, he/she can only park his/her bike at a location just north of the Chungyu Department store. However, if one parks his/her bike here, it will take him/her more than 10 minutes to go to several other stores. If one goes to the Lixiang Building and the Dinghao Electronics Market in Zhongguancun, he/she can only park his/her bike on the sidewalks because there is no designated bicycle parking lot here. Green transport sounds quite modern in theory but in reality, practitioners will face setbacks.

Experts: we should create conditions for green traffic and transport

According to Beijing's traffic planning department, in the future Beijing will include cyclists in their traffic planning policies. By 2015, 23 percent of local residents will likely choose bicycles as their means of transportation, close to the percentage of the people who choose cars as their means of transportation now.

Some experts hold that Beijing should encourage green transport through optimal design of the cycling environment and personalized services at bicycle parking lots. Relevant government bodies should take advantage of the increase in car parking fees to promote the use of bicycles. After the parking fees for cars was raised to 10 yuan per hour, some roadside car parking spaces are now vacant, so, we can change them into standardized bicycle parking spaces in order to help out cyclists.

Editor: Shi Taoyang | Source: