Thursday, August 26, 2010

traffic jelly

The enormous 100-mile-long traffic jam which caused a freeway leading in and out of Beijing, China to freeze up in what may have been the worst case of gridlock in history disappeared overnight on the evening of the 24th and morning of the 25th. Nobody knows why.

The crisis began on August 14, and was caused by lane closures for road maintenance combining with the increasing numbers of trucks carrying consumer goods to the newly-affluent citizens of the big shitty. It seems the Chinese are now determined to make all the same mistakes we did, and are working hard to multiply those afflictions which have been peculiarly American up until now, automobile dependency and affluenza.

For those of us living in Seattle and daily experiencing some of the worst traffic conditions in the country, the Beijing traffic clusterschnazzle is instructive. The automobile is behind us, the bus, the bicycle, and walking shoe in front of us. Which way will each of us go?

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