A little while ago a visiting VIP remarked that traveling around Beijing had been surprisingly quick and easy, despite all the warnings he'd heard.

"By chance, were you in an official Olympic car?" my wife asked innocently....  As it happens, he was!

Jianguo Lu, looking west toward 3rd Ring Road intersection, 2pm August 9. (Lo-rez camera phone shot.) Left-hand lane: Olympic Lane.  Other lanes: everyone else.

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Of course it's true that traffic controls have removed a lot of normal congestion, and sometimes the Ring Roads look positively wide-and-open. But sometimes the congestion has just been displaced.

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