The Permanent Jam

A number of people have written in, or tweeted (and don’t forget to find me in the tweetosphere), to tell me about a traffic jam in China, currently in its ninth day, that seems to be on the verge of evolving, as per Cortazar’s story “The Southern Thruway” (an inspiration for Godard’s Weekend), into some kind of makeshift settlement.

This has struck an enterprising verve in some locals, notes the BBC:

The drivers have complained that locals are over-charging them for food and drink while they are stuck.

Then again, what is the “market price” for selling food and drink to 100 km traffic jams?

This entry was posted on Monday, August 23rd, 2010 at 12:51 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “The Permanent Jam”

  1. David Levinson Says:

    Don’t forget the Dr. Who episode Gridlock

  2. fred_dot_u Says:

    I want the literally-porta-potty franchise on this one! Let’s see, a three wheeled pedal vehicle, perhaps with a storage trailer and extra seat with curtain for privacy. Biggest problem I see is the need to empty a few hundred times a day.

    Wow. China was a nation of cyclists and now look what it has turned into. Welcome to the twenty-first century.

    Yeah, Gridlock was a strange one.

  3. Josh R Says:

    Yeah, I was thinking of Gridlock as well. I know I’ve read/seen other sci-fi dystopian visions of permeant gridlocks becoming de-facto communities. The 70s were a good decade for that sort of thing.

  4. Jean Naimard Says:

    This was foreseen more than 30 years ago in the italian film “L’ingorgo – Una storia impossibile” (Traffic Jam)…

  5. Jack Says:

    Three cheers for autoinmobility.

  6. Sean Says:

    How do the locals get to them? Why don’t the drivers just go back with the locals and drive out from there? :) (half-hearted, of course)

  7. Kevin Love Says:

    Robert Heinlein was first.

  8. Ted K. Says:

    Re #7 –
    I believe the poster is referring to “The Roads Must Roll” (short story, *), an early entry in his future history series. One could say the story explores one possible consequence of peak oil on interstates and malls.
    *”The Man Who Sold the Moon”

  9. Ashley Says:

    Reminiscent also of JG Ballard’s Concrete Island.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

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