Atlantic Cities
Videos

This Could Be the World's Most Uncomfortable Pedestrian Crossing

This Could Be the World's Most Uncomfortable Pedestrian Crossing

You've got to respect this curious bit of infrastructure out of Nanning, a city of about 6.6 million people in southern China. Do it right and you shave a few minutes off your commute; handle it wrong and you might find yourself sprawled on the ground with a golfball-sized knot growing on your forehead.

The ceiling of this highway underpass measures only 4 feet 3 inches tall, according to Newscom, which has a photo of pedestrians crouching under it with the unfortunate headline, "Peking Duck." The crossing is popular with bicyclists and motor-scooter riders as well, according to the below Mandarin-language news report. You really hope they have Navy SEALS-type situational awareness, given that so few of them choose to wear helmets.

The underpass has been the site of numerous close calls, according to one person quoted by Newscom: "I've seen lots of people nearly knock themselves out on it because they're not used to it." But local authorities say pedestrians are needlessly putting themselves in danger of a concrete K.O. That's because the shoulder-hunching thoroughfare is not designed for day-to-day foot traffic – rather, it's a "river crossing" meant to help out during Nanning's perennial floods. "If pedestrians don't like it they can walk somewhere else," said one town-hall representative.

Between the Lilliputian underpass and this rainbow-vomiting wonder, Nanning is building up a reputation for City of Improbable Bridges:

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

Join the Discussion