Special lane cuts hospital traffic complaints

April 24, 2019 |

Traffic around Shanghai Children’s Hospital in Putuo District has long been a source of complaint, but efforts by the district authorities to address the problem are seeing positive results.

Putuo District traffic police said on Tuesday that there had only been two complaints from residents in the area this year, compared with 25 in the same period last year. The number of accidents reported to the police was also down, from 306 to 86.

One of the district’s initiatives is the creation of a special lane for the exclusive use of patients and hospital staff.

On Tongpu Road, a road that crosses Luding Road where the hospital is located, people heading for the hospital now take the new lane. If they miss the entrance, they just drive around the block again.

Traffic assistants are on hand at the intersection to prevent people who take the wrong lane trying to merge with the traffic for the hospital.

“By separating drivers who are to enter the hospital and those who are not, the patients can reach the hospital faster than before,” said Zhang Zhenxiang, head of Putuo traffic police.

Parking was another problem.

Police estimate that about 1,500 motorists need to park at the hospital every day, but there were only 1,000 slots, with half previously used by staff.

This caused rampant illegal parking around the hospital, which worsened the traffic in the area.

Now, hospital staff park at the underground garage of the Putuo District Administrative Center on Tongpu Road and other parking lots farther away.

A man surnamed Shen who drove his child to hospital on Tuesday morning told Shanghai Daily that traffic congestion around the hospital had improved a lot, but parking was still a headache.

Wu Guorong, an official with the district’s housing and urban-rural construction commission, said a new underground garage with about 500 spaces is being built at the hospital, and that the district administrative service center and other temporary parking places on Tongpu Road can potentially offer about 1,300 more slots.

Efforts to relieve traffic pressure and parking problems have also benefited over 30,000 staff of 3,000 companies in the adjacent technology and finance park in the Changfeng area.

Staff used to park on the street because it cost just 400 yuan (US$60) a month, while parking at their office building garages cost 1,200 yuan.

Now garage management firms have agreed to cut fees in half, and more people are now choosing the underground garages. About 100 street parking slots on Guangfu Road W. from Danba Road to Luding Road have been canceled to ease traffic flow.

Wu said the district government had invested 14 million yuan into streamlining traffic in the area and introducing new parking spaces.