More than half the Huangpu riverfront in downtown Shanghai is now open to the public with continuous walking, running and cycling paths and preserved historic buildings, the city government announced Wednesday.
The paths have been created along a 25.29-kilometer riverside section between the Yangpu and Xupu bridges and run through Yangpu, Hongkou, Huangpu and Xuhui districts as well as the Pudong New Area.
The city government plans to open up 45 kilometers of waterfront along the river by the end of the year. Its aim is the creation of a riverside attraction on a par with the Left Bank in Paris and London's Thames walkways.
"In the next step, the city government will improve the quality, culture and function of the riverfront for the public," Shanghai Party secretary Han Zheng said yesterday as he walked and cycled along parts of the new sections with other government officials.
The banks of the Huangpu, the city's "mother river," once served as a major shipping and transport hub with warehouses, wharves and factories. Now they are to become an eco-friendly public space and a recreational, sightseeing, tourism and historic protection landmark, according to the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration.
The riverside areas officially opened yesterday included a former industrial site in Yangpu, a former major cargo and passenger ships harbor in Hongkou, and an extension to part of the riverside in Xuhui which is already known as Shanghai's "most beautiful night running site."
Many historic buildings along the Huangpu are part of the city's precious memory, Han said, and he promised to "spare no effort to protect every single historic building along the river."
Many historic items such as machines and equipment were discovered during work in Yangpu District. They have been stored in a warehouse and will be exhibited in a future museum.
Many historic structures initially due to be torn down have been saved, officials said. Among them a former drilling and welding platform which has been turned into an open-air plaza and walking lanes.
"Two things must be added, public toilets and places to drink," Han said during his tour.
He asked for improvements to public facilities along the riverside for the convenience of visitors.
A 23-kilometer riverside area in Pudong is a major challenge for the project, according to officials. The section known as the East Bund will connect the Lujiazui financial center, the former World Expo site and many future city landmarks such as the Qiantan area, a high-end business and residential site.
Already under construction, 12 pedestrian bridges will span creeks and waterways running off the main river in Pudong, or skirt round some urban facilities along the river that would otherwise interrupt the paths.
A cluster of small parks, covering 1,000 to 3,000 square meters, are also planned along the river.