Friday, July 25, 2008

Beijing Sidewalk

IMG_3789, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

As part of the general face lift for Beijing, the city is being rebuilt literally from the street up. One large project that was under way was reconstruction of sidewalks throughout the city. From door to curb the entire sidewalk was dug up and replaced with pavers. The new pavers have patterns that enhance navigation.

Down the center of the sidewalk, one row of pavers has raised ridges that would help with traction in rain and snow. At the curbs and corners, the handicap ramps have bumps as well.

This standardizes all the sidewalks throughout the city and provides a uniform appearance. Because of the heavy pedestrian traffic, the sidewalks tend to be very wide.

Sleeping In The Park

IMG_3807, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Beijing is not without its housing problems. While not epidemic, the various public spaces are often used by homeless people as temporary beds. In this picture, this well-dressed and groomed man is asleep on a park bench with all his belongings underneath the bench.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tear Down This Wall!

IMG_3237, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Beijing is a city of many small enclaves. Each neighborhood area is bordered by walls between the sidewalk and the interior buildings. In portions of Beijing where the walls have become old and worn, they are literally being rebuilt in place. The new wall is in the same location, but gets repainted a fresh pink color. The new tile toppings are placed on the top and match the style used on the Forbidden City. On the other side of the walls, the homes and other buildings abut right up against the wall.

Sidewalk Superintendent

IMG_3913, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Most of the sidewalk construction in Beijing is being done with very simple tools and methods. As the sidewalk area is dug up, a staging area is set-up in the adjacent hutong neighborhood. The fill and materials are brought out in wheelbarrows and a swarm of workers descend on the area.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Subway Sleepers

IMG_4349, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Taking a cue from European cities, there are pedestrian underpasses at major roads to allow people to cross the street without interrupting traffic. This passage is near the very popular Beihai Park. As can be seen by the picture, small families as well as individuals have set up camps in these subways.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Park and Ride

IMG_3854, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

At Beijing subway stations there are special park and ride lots for bicycles. The racks have canopies that shield the bikes from the weather. The big blue sign gives the rates.

Subway Line Minders

IMG_3848, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

At the busier subway stations, there are uniformed men and women that enforce the lines for the inbound trains. The men have a para-police uniforms but the women are dressed more like school hall monitors. They make sure that passengers are allowed to leave the cars before anybody enters.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Morning Rush

IMG_3849, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Commuters in Beijing have been taught to form lines for subway cars. Each line forms at the mark for the car door at the track platform which makes them more orderly than most American commuters.

Beijing Subway

IMG_3845, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Beijing has built a new modern subway system that rivals many American cities in sized and sophistication. When I was there it consisted of a ring route, an east-west line and two north-south lines. Several lines were still under construction which were designed to serve Olympic venues. Because of the construction, some stations had been temporarily closed.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Street Safe

IMG_3841, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

In the United States, you are unlikely to find soldiers drilling on the plaza of a major office building. These soldiers partially obscured by the poster promoting the Olympics. The building here is on Wanfujing Dajie, one of the big shopping and banking districts just a few blocks east of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beijing Security

IMG_3840, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Army and military police type units are much more common in China than in Western countries. They tend to patrol and drill in small groups. The troops seem to be very young. If you look closely (or click through to the larger image), you can see that several of the soldiers are wearing sneakers instead of black shoes. I'm sure these kids get extra demerits. See this post for another picture of soldiers drilling.