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Territorial Development

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Traffic Management

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Traffic Management06



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Title Traffic Management
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Material Type Reports
Date 2015
Language Korean
File Type Theme
Subject Territorial Development
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Abstract

Sub-Theme 1 | Traffic Management 



Issues and Arguments



Removal of the expressway was completed within two months, and the rest of the stream restoration work was completed on Sept. 30, 2005. With restoration completed, all that was left were the 13.5 meter-wide thoroughfares along the sides of Cheonggyecheon, each comprising two-lanes for vehicular traffic, business sidewalks and riverside walks (see Figure 2).



 


[Figure 2. After (left) and Before (right) Cheonggyecheon Restoration]


 


 




 





Once street restoration started, none of the anticipated traffic crises materialized, and the conflict with merchants was settled for the most part after the city government decided to arrange an alternative site for new businesses. The main reason that the project gained a lot of attention within Korea and abroad was that the city was gearing up for a drastic paradigm change from unsustainable to sustainable development with its inception. Therefore, this project went beyond simple restoration, rather it was perceived as a litmus test to see if Seoul could turn into a globally competitive world city.





Before the restoration started, more than 168 thousand cars a day traversed the 6km long, 50~80m wide street and 5.86km long 16m wide elevated expressway covering Cheonggyecheon, and just over 62% of this was through-traffic. According to one study, however, serious repair work would have been needed immediately to fix critical defects in this infrastructure. This mounting dilemma was the impetus for the CRP to be discussed as a realistic alternative.



 

Traffic Management Strategies


 

Some of the most critical conflicts arising from the restoration program involved traffic and vendors. Of these, the traffic issue was used most significantly to lambast the program. A common complaint was that tearing down Cheonggye Street and Expressway (the main pillars of the urban transportation system) to restore a natural waterway would precipitate congestion. Some traffic experts and civic groups were opposed to the restoration program, fearing that it might cause inconvenience for residents. To resolve these potential restoration issues, the city developed a plan to be implemented alongside the restoration. It would modify the public transit system and minimize congestion and confusion.





During the actual restoration work, there was potential for the construction to undermine the business activities of local vendors. To minimize any such interruption, plans were developed to create a space where vendors could park and load/unload freight. Various other actions were also taken to resolve potential problems related to traffic.##3D_LAYER##[6]##3D_TEXT:As the CRP proceeded smoothly, traffic management systems in Seoul and nationwide saw a revolutionary change. Encouraged by the positive outcomes of the CRP, the Seoul Metropolitan Government opened a public plaza in front of City Hall, which had been postponed several times, while constructing a number of pedestrian crossings on main roads, bringing about a big change in central arterial roads where consideration of foot traffic had been largely ignored for years.##3D_LAYER_END##



 


Establishing an Environmentally Friendly Transport System


 

It was essential to upgrade transportation systems in order to revitalize urban functions. The vehicle-oriented transportation environment had to be changed into a human-oriented and eco-friendly one to enhance the competitiveness of the downtown. For that purpose, the city introduced a new mass transit system and improved the pedestrian environment. Moreover, Transportation Demand Management (TDM) would to be strengthened to ease the traffic congestion and air pollution caused by excessive automobile use.





Active investment in public transportation was also required to improve accessibility to the urban center. First of all, in the short-term bus service was dramatically reformed into a system of main and branch lines. Also, the city considered introducing a median bus lane system downtown to better manage bus flows. In addition, Seoul Station in the old city center would be accessed by a new urban rail system serving Incheon International Airport, two new metropolitan lines (the Sinansan Line and Sinbundang Line), as well as the Gyeongbu KTX (bullet train) stretching to Busan on the southern tip of the peninsula.





Previously, the road transportation system focused mainly on vehicle flows. Consequently, pedestrian access was lost, necessitating more and more cars operating in the urban center. The most important thing to encourage pedestrian activity was to expand the number of crosswalks and to promote a sidewalk environment. The area known as Gwangwhamun was reborn as a pedestrian-friendly street after the city turned traffic lanes into a pedestrian mall in front of the main palace.





Other considerations aimed at creating a better pedestrian environment included a new signal system to improve foot-traffic flow, more and wider crossings, and a clearer crossroads structure. After Cheonggyecheon had been covered decades ago, the stream was forgotten, and the area quickly became a thoroughfare crowded with cars and busses. This is why, the City of Seoul wanted to restore Choenggyecheon: it would provide citizens a green core right downtown.