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Beijing Looking to End Gridlock in 5 Years

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The State Council has approved a Beijing plan to reduce traffic congestion, according to Party secretary Liu Qi, though details of the plan were not given.

As part of the effort to slow automobile purchases, the municipal government initiated a research project on Tuesday to determine exactly how many parking spaces are available for new vehicles in the city, starting with Xicheng district.

"The State Council has agreed in principle to Beijing's plan to improve city traffic. The city will modify the plan according to the State Council's suggestions and put it into use," Liu Qi, secretary of the CPC Beijing municipal committee said in a speech printed in Wednesday's Beijing Daily.

An employee of the city's transportation committee said it was not yet time to reveal what measures are included in the plan.

As the plan is widely considered to be a means of further controlling the number of automobiles on the road, media have begun speculating that automobile buyers might need to turn in proof that they have arranged parking spaces for the vehicles they wish to purchase.

At the same time, the municipal government began investigating how many parking spaces are available for both residential and office buildings in Xicheng district.

A spokesperson surnamed Yan from the Xicheng district Commission of City Adminis-tration told the Global Times that forms have been given to the residents' committees of Xinjiekou and Yuetan communities, on which they are to categorize the types of parking spaces available to them.

Classifications include residential compound parking lots, building spaces, spots on roads, those under bridges and the like. "The goal is to find out how many spaces are available for people both at home and at work," Yan said.

The investigation of Xicheng district's parking situation will finish soon and will start in other districts in 2011.

The most effective way to improve the city's traffic is to slow the growth of the number of automobiles with stricter policies on car purchasing, and to encourage citizens to use public transportation, said Wu Yan, vice-director of the Urban Transportation Research Center under the Ministry of Transportation.

(Global Times December 10, 2010)

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