China has been busy building metro lines across many of its cities, but integrated and hierarchical transport planning has failed at the local scale.
Due to the wide scope of urbanization, many new stations are still outside a comfortable walking distance from large residential and commercial areas but little if no consideration has been given to connectors.
Exits are usually inconveniently located and poorly oriented for pedestrian traffic. Even in new town areas, stations are rarely located next to bus or taxi stands and no provision is made for leaving bicycles.
My wife recently left her bicycle at our nearest metro exit (500m from our home) only to find it stolen on her return. A frequently repeated story this, as there are no bicycle stands at metro exits and no provision for locking to any railings.
The recently completed Shenzhen Metro Line 2 manages to pass within 500m of the Shenzhen Bay Border Crossing to Hong Kong, which sees up to 190,000 crossings in a day, including thousands of daily commuters and school children, yet no metro station was provisioned for the port and the nearest is a circuitous 1500m roadside walk, essentially making it redundant.
No bicycle parking area exists at the border crossing itself resulting in cycles being informally piled up across a planting area. Cyclists and pedestrians battle with parked cars blocking access roads and the bus and taxi arrangements are chaotic.
Shenzhen initiated a public rental bicycle scheme two years ago, however registration is inconveniently required via a district office and the cycle rack locations are unrelated to potential users, with no sign of the bicycle racks at metro stations, commercial centres or residential schemes.
Worryingly Shenzhen ranks first among 286 Chinese cities in terms of urbanization quality …