Have you ever found yourself on the busy street wondering how those thousands or millions people come to be coordinated into a stream that flows in one direction? For me the crowded streets are the sociological phenomenon in which, happily, I don’t have to take part on a daily basis. While travelling, though, I find myself being dragged by those jam-packed places that have become a symbol of our times and us: fast, anonymous, busy.
Among the most crowded streets and intersections are:
Germany, Schildergasse, Cologne
Europe’s busiest shopping street is Cologne’s Schildergasse where over 17,000 people pass through every hour. Hard to believe as I have always thought nothing can beat London’s Oxford Street.
Great Britain, Oxford Street, London
Talking about London – I used to live in the town and I was always trying to avoid Oxford Street as much as possible. All these shopping-mad tourists drew me crazy and I could not pass through without cannoning into someone. Around 300 bars, shops, hotels and night club do their job- they attract 200 million tourists and locals every year. To give the place more space the city’s authorities, inspired by Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, decided to redesign Oxford Circus and double the amount of pavement. More space! Finally!
Spain, La Rambla, Barcelona
An iconic La Rambla in Barcelona can get so crowded it’s hard to breath. Despite the lack of space I like it, because of two simple reasons: coffee costs there 0.50 euro cents and it runs down to the sea. I don’t know how many folks walk down this boulevard every day but it’s quite easy to estimate – there are around 14 million tourists visiting Barcelona per year and around 5 million people living in the city.
Japan, Shibuya, Tokyo
No matter what time you go Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing is always busy. During the day, in the middle of night, at dusk – the amount of people is always consistent. No doubt it is the busiest intersection in the world with 2.5 million people a day. I had this little shiver of excitement running over my skin when the green light went on and I could see the thousands moving in my direction. Crazy feeling!
Hong Kong, Causeway Bay
Causeway Bay is one of the most thickly populated streets in Hong Kong. It is also the second most expensive street in the world. I have not yet made it there but I have heard it is the most crowded and populated place around Asia. Must be true if Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 6,200 people per km².
The USA, Time Square, New York
Let the numbers speak
• 1.6 million people pass through Times Square each day.
• 274,000 people work directly in Times Square each day.
• 300,000 vehicles pass through Times Square daily.
• 100 million people pass through Times Square via subways daily.
• 26 million tourists visit Time Square annually.
Busy streets are like addiction. We complain about them but go there anyway. Maybe being a part of the crowd is being a part of society…