Thursday, August 26, 2010

You call this traffic?

Posted on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 2:36 PM

I spoke with a guy this morning who cleans up crime scenes for a living (see next week's cover story for more on that). He said he came to Spokane in the early 2000s because he was sick of the rat race in his native Seattle — sitting in stop-and-go traffic, driving an hour and a half across town.

That's not an uncommon story among those who flee bigger cities for Spokane. But it may be worth thinking about now, as street construction around town presents us with the mild and temporary inconveniences of traffic congestion and dust. 

Even more worth thinking about? The still-ongoing traffic jam in Beijing, which began on Aug. 19 and shows few signs of abating. From Foreign Policy:

Life in the slow lane: The ongoing jam on National Expressway 110, which links Beijing and North China's Hebei province, caused by construction and a number of accidents, has shocked the world. But Beijingers are used to epic-scale gridlock. Despite the city's six surrounding ring roads, numerous expressways, and the government's restrictions on car use, urban planners simply can't keep up with the massive influx of new cars that many of Beijing's approximately 20 million increasingly wealthy people (many of whom have never driven a car before) have recently bought. Some 248,000 new cars were registered in the first four months of 2010, according to the Beijing municipal tax office, a rate of 2,100 new cars per day. 

The site runs down this and four other notoriously congested cities in their rundown of the World's Worst Traffic, here.

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