Shanghai seniors’ power-walking beat raises complaints about noise and road safety from neighbours

  • After protests from young people about square dancing, elders in Shanghai prompt complaints about their high-volume power-walking posses on busy road
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 7:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 7:26pm

First it was dancing grannies – now it’s hundreds of senior citizens power-walking along a busy road that’s irritating residents in Shanghai, prompting them to complain to the authorities, according to a Chinese media report.

Like the elderly dancers, the power-walking seniors in Yangpu district have ruffled feathers by monopolising public places and creating a noise nuisance as they step out to loud music, local news platform Thepaper.cn reported.

What is worse, the mass power walks were posing a danger to road safety, residents near Sujiatun Road said.

The road, a one-lane, one-way motorway with a footpath on each side, had long been a fitness route for the elderly in the neighbourhood despite the traffic hazards, said a resident who lives nearby.

The group, which emerged last year and numbers several hundred people at its peak, usually started walking at 7pm sharp and pounded the street for an hour, he said.

Chinese square dancing to face the music

“It’s fine if they just walk in line, but they take loudspeakers with them playing music as they walk,” he was quoted as saying.

As the pedestrian footpath is so narrow, people often end up on the main road, facing the traffic.

The police warned the walkers against mobbing the road, but they always showed up later and got back to exercising, the report said.

The district government said it was working on a plan to solve a problem – which highlights the conflict between limited space in the city and people’s desire for exercise.

Less than 400 metres long and lined with plane trees, Sujiatun Road is known as one of Shanghai’s most beautiful avenues and is popularly regarded as a good open space for exercise.

“If there was a park or a school playground open to the public, I will not have to walk on the road,” one member of the group was quoted as saying.

A similar, but more popular pastime among the urban elderly in China is square dancing.

Millions of senior citizens – mostly women – would spread out across the country’s public squares and dance to loud music, which has been considered as a nuisance, especially by young people.