our readers tell all
How has the city construction affected your life in Chengdu?
- I am quite an indoor person. I live and work within the first ring road (I work in a building across street from where I live), and my social circles seldom summon me far away or outdoors. I thought the construction has nothing to do with me. Till the blocks of flying insects rushing through the window, and the polluted air sent me to the hospital respiratory department. Early this week, I have had a meeting with people flying from Paris, Ireland, Hong Kong, and Beijing. I was kind of shocked how much they complained about air quality and traffic in Chengdu. They stayed just for one day, and they were already had "enough": queueing in the busy traffic, bad air, sounding car horn. They don't think it's a city the panda bear would like to live.
- I hack more, there's more dust in my house, and I actually go out of my way to take the metro if at all possible, because it just isn't worth waiting 20 or more minutes just to get through the intersection at Wannianchang to get home. I think of Mumbai and wonder just how long it'd take Chengdu to get to that point.
- Yes, a thousand times yes. Stuck in traffic everywhere because of the closed ring road even on my e-bike, dirty air filling up my lungs.
- Things got a little bit more annoying. The noise level raised, so everything and everyone is louder. People tolerate and add more noise. There's more pollution and more traffic. It affected me negatively because people I know live farther from each other and don't want to leave their area of the city, so I don't see them as often—only on special occasions. Meeting people now, professionally and just friends, is more difficult. You plan your life around spending less time in traffic, so you do less out of the home. I used to love taking taxis and now I hate it, for example.
- It's destroyed all my favorite running routes near my apartment, and now I sit around like a couch potato instead of venturing outside because even going out for a stroll is more of a stress-inducing headache than relaxing. Actually, I thought the roads were bad before the construction. This is just unimaginable. Unlivable, really. Every time I go out there, I actually cannot believe the conditions that we're trying to live in.
How do you think the opening of the BRT and elevated second Second Ring Road this week will affect your life here?
- The preview is very fascinating. Let alone the side effect, the construction will bloom the city economy, and provide convenience for city life. Apart from that, I don't have more expectations for now.
- Hopefully, it'll mean that it will once again take less than an hour to get into town from where we live outside the second ring. What I'm afraid it means, though, is simply different traffic, not less traffic, aiya. While Chengdu obviously needs better transportation infrastructure, I think that adding giant shadows to great swathes of an already shadowy city is a mistake. It affects the feel of a place. Do we really want more dystopian concrete jungle? What about this whole "garden city" propaganda that came out last year?
- Hopefully a less tired fiancee as she works in the west and we live in the east.
- I live near the Second Ring Road, so I expect the noise level to raise, and there'll be more traffic in my neighborhood. The problem is although I'm near the Second Ring Road, the closest station will be almost a kilometer away because I'm between two stations. Maybe I'll take it sometimes, but I hope more that I can ride my bike under the layers to protect from the elements, but I'm not sure how it will work. Maybe also it will change my traffic habits—instead of going through the city I'll go around it. It also makes me feel a little more like I'm living in Tokyo or Chongqing where life happens on several layers, and you have to start thinking on a 3D grid instead of 2D.
- It'll only create more traffic, not less, and the other ills that go along with traffic: more air, noise, and light pollution, less social interaction, more reliance on automobiles. There will be a freeway encircling the city center, and in very close proximity to residential areas. Some people will have freeway-speed traffic flying by their eighth-story windows at all hours of the day and night. Yuck. Who wants any of that? In a time when developed nations are trying to move away from car culture, Chengdu is embracing it full on.
- Thanks to Hongxia.SONG, Df, and the other anonymous contributors who took time to answer the question!