Most Shunyi residents living near Pinnacle Plaza are aware of a very narrow back road running along side the many villas, perpendicular to Jingshun Lu across to Huosha Lu (where you can get to the Jingcheng Expressway). It’s a beautiful, peaceful drive, lined with pretty trees that show a lovely change of color throughout the seasons, and the pavement is fairly smooth. The official road name is Gaobai Lu, and many of us refer to it as River Road as it’s parallel with the Wenyu River separating Shunyi and Chaoyang districts. When you want to escape rush hour traffic on Jingshun Lu, or avoid the intersection near the International Exposition Center, it’s a nice shortcut with the perk of seeming like a drive through the country.
Many people likely know this road by its more common and unfortunate name, Dead Ayi Road. It’s extremely dangerous. It’s very narrow, oftentimes very congested, and it’s not well lit. There are steep slopes on either side of the road, and trees, trees, trees. Add regular cars, oversized vehicles, too much speed, sharp curves, pedestrians and cyclists — it now becomes a game of chicken or Russian Roulette, or however else you might want to phrase it. It’s dangerous.
Buses — big ones — used to travel this route, with stops along the way bringing ayis and other local workers to and from their area jobs. Trucks carrying heavy loads also took this shortcut. Then, with the construction of the new subway line, the road was closed for a good while and we all got used to going the “long” way around again. I remember hoping that it’d be widened when the road eventually reopened, but that was wishful thinking — it was already widened just a few years ago (I can’t imagine how narrow it was before then!). Little by little, sections of the road opened up and traffic began to find its way through again. I didn’t even realize that the route was all the way opened until reading about the most recent unfortunately accident.
Another ayi down. Bicycling home, presumably, she was hit by a car. I will make many assumptions here saying that it was dark, the ayi nor her bike were well lit, and that the driver was going too fast. The only witnesses to the aftermath said things didn’t look good, but I hope that we are able to hear she is doing OK. It sure brought awareness of the road’s danger back to the forefront, from those who know it well to others who may have arrived when it wasn’t open as a traveling option.
Of course, ayis are not the only ones in danger here. There have been stories of not only accidents, but actual hit-and-runs. There have been rumors of mid-month and end-of-month “accident” increases — perhaps, knowingly, pay day for local workers?
Drivers beware. Bikers beware. Pedestrians beware. Don’t fear using the road — it is there to be used. But know that you must take extra caution while on it, not only with your own driving but with that of others. Use common sense — if it’s dark or there is bad weather, take the extra time to NOT use this road. Certainly watch your speed and be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists. Bicycle lights and helmets would always be recommended for your family and anyone working for you. And as one traveler wisely advised, expect the unexpected.