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Seoul tries to constrain traffic within the city

Posted September. 13, 2018 07:52,   

Updated September. 13, 2018 07:52


Seoul City is trying to restrain urban traffic of vehicles within the four main gates of old Seoul. This area is called the "Green Traffic Promotion Zone of Hanyang Capital City." The goal is to reduce the volume of vehicle traffic by thirty percent and increase the area for using "green traffic" such as public transportation and bicycles by two folds until 2030.

Last month, Seoul City finalized its special comprehensive response for green transportation promotion zone. It has been approximately a year and a half since the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport designated Korea’s first green traffic promotion zone in March 2017. Seoul City plans to block the entrance of vehicles into the city and transfer it to public transportation. In order to make this possible, general road within the four gates will be expanded to as big as four round-trip lanes and roads with central bus-only lane will be regulated to have six round-trip lane at the most. The spare area from reducing the roads will be used as pedestrian roads and bicycle roads.

From 2019, pedestrian roads will be expanded to Sejong road, Eulji road, and Toegye road in central Seoul. For example, the capital city plans to reduce the number of cars in the area surrounding the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) and provide the spare area that has been secured by getting rid of mountains of cars to pedestrians and bicycles.

Building a bicycle road network that connects Jongno, Cheonggyecheon and the Han River is expected to be completed within this year to encourage the use of bicycles. Real-time management systems for the entrance and exit of vehicles and blocking the entrance of harmful vehicles into the city will be implemented starting from next year.

Experts, however, point out that alternatives to substantially reduce the demand of traveling by vehicles is insufficient as it is difficult to move long-distance using public transportation in Seoul, unlike Tokyo.

Furthermore, with respect to the project to expand pedestrian area in Sejong road, there are concerns that walking may become even more inconvenient as restructuring of the Gwanghwamun Square, underground city of Sejong road, and GTX are carried out separately. Opponents claim that promoting the use of bicycles may not be effective in Seoul as there are hills all over the city.

Hyung-Seok Seo skytree08@donga.com