Shanghai World Car Free Day redefines space and time
Although Shanghai will participate in the annual World Car Free Day again this year, city officials aren’t asking the 1.46 million cars in the city to get off the roads.
Drastically scaling back the city’s ambitions for tomorrow’s green event, which also happens to fall on Mid-Autumn Festival, only those living and going to the 2010 Expo area will be affected by the celebration, and the concept of “day” will be reduced to 12 hours.
From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow, private cars will be banned from a seven square kilometer area surrounding the Expo, reports Shanghai Daily.
This area already has seen a reduction in the number of cars there since the 2010 Expo started, since only residents or people working in the area are authorized to drive there. Nearly 95 percent of 2010 Expo visitors get to the site via subways and buses.
Even in the face of these facts, traffic officials told reporters that the 2010 Expo "is a great opportunity to raise public awareness about greener forms of transportation."
World Car Free Day has historically been a difficult task for Shanghai to execute, with only a 12-hour ban on private cars in central Shanghai in 2007 when the city first took part in the day. In 2008 the restrictions were limited to six hours on only a few streets. In 2009, Shanghai World Car Free Day lasted two-and-a-half hours.