Footloose residents thrilled with greenway
BRITON John Downham, who has lived in a residential complex on Xietu Road for 10 years, takes a daily stroll along the Huangpu River greenway, pleased that recent redevelopment of the area has opened up more walks.
“I come here in daytime or nighttime and walk from the West Bund to Nanpu Bridge,” he said. “I can sit down and enjoy the beautiful scenery. There are so many different places where you couldn’t walk in the past.”
Downham, who worked at the British Pavilion during 2010 Shanghai World Expo, said the waterfront redevelopment is a tribute to the city’s ambitions to become a people-friendly, eco-friendly city.
The Huangpu River greenway, also known as the No. 1 municipal greenway, stretches 4 kilometers and comprises walking, jogging and cycling tracks. Seven theme parks line the greenway, including the azalea, China rose, rock and herb parks. Together, the parks harbor 160 varieties of plants from cherry and lilies to golden rain and ginkgo trees. They add a splash of color to the greenway.
Amid a mild breeze and twittering birds, people walking or jogging along the greenway invariably praise the pleasant experience. The view of the former Expo site is stunning, and the fragrance of flowers permeates in the air.
The greenway, mainly located along the Expo site on the western side of the river, is part of the 8.3-kilometer Huangpu riverside project that connects the Bund, the South Bund and Expo site. It encompasses nearly 10 hectares of green space.
It was created to give residents and visitors a natural respite from the city’s glass and steel environment, according to the Huangpu District Greenery Management Station.
Trees along the greenway are mostly native to Shanghai, and seasonal flowers provide a changing palette of colors throughout the year.
The seven theme parks are eco-friendly, with rain-collection systems installed to provide water for the plants, which in turn attract birds.
Nearby resident Amy Zhu, 63, jogs along the greenway for at least 5 kilometers every day.
“It is such a quiet, pleasant place now,” she said. “In the past, the environment here was not inviting. It was dirty and full of weeds.”
Zhu said she was among the first joggers to get out and use the new facilities. She runs with her 38-year-old daughter every evening. Lighting is good for those out at dusk, but dogs can be nettlesome. In summer, she said, there are so many people walking dogs after dinner that it’s impossible to jog easily along the track.
Zhou Kangjie, a 75-year-old retired biology teacher living in nearby Dapuqiao, is a shutterbug. He comes to the greenway frequently to photograph birds.
“Walking here is very comfortable,” he said. “In the past, the area was just stones and reeds, and it was impossible to walk here. I love birds and am interested in the intertidal wildlife, including egrets, night herons, grey herons, magpies and sparrows. The environment keeps improving, and there are now more than 10 species of birds here.”
Liu Yi, another nearby resident, takes her 4-year-old grandson for a walk along the greenway. She recalled the pier and concrete mixer that used to be here, churning up dust.
“But now, it has taken on a brand new look,” she said, with a note of pride in her voice.
The combination of greenbelt, forest belt, waterways, landscaped roads and boulevards is providing more green leisure space for local residents, according to the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.
About 447 kilometers of the 1,000 kilometers of greenway are completed. The whole project will be done by 2020.
Work on this year’s segment is one of 31 “lifestyle improvement projects” undertaken by the Shanghai government.
Included in the projects are greenways on the North Bund riverfront, the Pudong New Area, Zhapu Park in Putuo District, Kunxiu Lake in Songjiang District and Changxing Countryside Park in Chongming District.
The Hongkou riverfront greenway has four sections. Red maples line both sides, along with a variety of colorful plants that include such hydrangea and day lilies.
Public restrooms and vending machines have been installed in the greenways, along with waterfront platforms where people can sit on benches and enjoy the views.
“It is a very beautiful place, with a nice view of Pudong’s Lujiazui,” said Wang Jindi, who lives about a kilometer away. “I like to come for a stroll and enjoy the sunshine.”
She said she takes a stroll there almost every day.
Garbage bins, lighting, benches and environment monitoring system have been installed on the greenways, and the pathways themselves are paved with environmental friendly permeable materials.