Odd/Even May Not Be Enough

The last few days in Beijing have been hot, muggy and grey—not great news for the upcoming Olympic Games. Also, the elimination of one-half of the cars on the streets of Beijing through the odd/even license plate system has not reduced traffic as much as one might think or hope. For one thing, one lane on most major streets and roads in Beijing is now being reserved for official “Olympic” traffic, making one-third of each of the city’s major roads off-limits to regular folk. For another, one-half of 3.3 million cars is still a lot of cars.

Therefore, it came as no surprise to read that Beijing may take even more drastic measures if the skies don’t clear soon. More vehicles could go off the roads and all construction sites and some more factories in Beijing and its neighboring areas could be closed. As part of an emergency plan now being drawn up, up to 90 percent of private vehicles may be taken off the streets during the Games. Only vehicles whose license plate ends with the last digit of the date would be allowed to hit the road if the plan is implemented.

Oh well–time to take the bicycle out of the closet.

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