Oh, traffic jam got more cars than a beach got sand.
– “Too Much”, Dave Matthews Band
Look for a new four-foot-high lane divider on Sanlitun Bar Street to slow traffic to a snail’s place. The divider, which separates the Swire complex from the neon-lit bar strip, offers only two openings – a crosswalk near the 3.3 Building and a turning lane near new Nali Studio. This means pedestrians will be crowded into a few bottlenecks, parking will be much more difficult, and cars will be unable to pass each other – expect traffic to back up EVERY time someone enters or exits a cab.
I’m guessing the first three slides of the “Sanlitun traffic options” Powerpoint presentation somehow got lost: 1) leave things as they are; 2) make the street pedestrian-only, or 3) take some of the Swire sidewalk and widen the road. Instead, it went directly to slide 4: Erect a metal barrier to make things worse for drivers and pedestrians. Hopefully, there is no slide 5: Add a speed bump every five meters.
Despite all this, getting a cab in Sanlitun should still be easier than at The Place. Over the past month, I have been a regular at Pacific Coffee there and it seems that getting a Z visa is easier than hailing a cab at The Place after 5 PM.
Consider a recent weekday, when I tried to catch a cab at 9:40 PM. I waited: 1) near the entrance, 2) 200 meters north, hoping a cab would round the corner from Ritan Park, 3) 200 meters north of the back end of The Place, hoping a cab would come out of Central Park, 4) the back end of The Place, and 5) 200 meters north of there (again). I finally caught at taxi at 10:35 PM, at which point we had to drive past the back end of The Place, along its southern flank, and past its entrance, thereby unfairly exciting dozens of people still hoping to catch a ride by midnight.
Isolated incident? Other recent adventures include: 1) waiting so long for a cab that I gave up, went back into The Place, ate, and returned an hour later in the hope that the queue had shortened; 2) giving up and walking south to Guanghua Road to grab a cab; and 3) walking home.