Opening of EcoMobility Festival
September 2, 2013 2 Comments
Today on September 1 was the opening of EcoMobility World Festival in Suwon. When I arrived there at 5 pm, the festival was already in full swing. There was a large stage in front of the Haenggung Palace. It was so amazing to see the result of months of constructions and planning. Someone told me that the last construction sites finished in the night. There was still a smell of fresh asphalt in the air.
The main road outside the neighborhood is also partially closed. Only buses and taxis are allowed to drive on the lane towards south, the other lane was open was all traffic and the rest was kept free of traffic. I’m not sure if it’s going to be the whole month like this because it is a very important street in Suwon with a lot of traffic.
Here’s one more picture of the new division:
On the side of the festival area youth volunteers were rehearsing a dance:
I would like to know what this car driver thinks about this festival…
I took a quick walk through the neighborhood and I was impressed. That’s how 9 million Euro (13 million KRW) are used in a very efficient way. Here are a couple of pictures from the transformed neighborhood:
Visitors walked through the car-free streets of the neighborhood and they enjoyed it obviously!
I especially enjoyed the love for details. For tourists, there are some nice places to take pictures:
Not everyone knew the area before and so the event organizers put up a lot of before-after pictures.
Today the main attention was directed to the stage but in the next weeks there will be activities inside the neighborhood. Today the food street (a former parking place) was empty.
Do you remember the restaurant which was famous among taxi drivers? They had no customers at all! That’s very sad.
The event organizers designed special coupons for the area. Visitors can purchase them at a booth on the festival area and then get discount in every local restaurant which takes part in this program. It’s a great idea and it should help to get more customers.
Back at palace plaza I saw the congress hall, where on the following days an international conference on sustainable transport will be held.
Next to the congress hall, there was a exhibition hall with many kinds of bicycles :
Landscape architects released their creativity in front of the congress hall:
Companies related to cycling or international organizations had the possibility to reserve a booth in Suwon. It was a nice balance between them.
At around 6:30 pm the official opening begun. Here you can see the international visitors, who are high-ranked names in the field of transportation.
I didn’t stay for the whole opening ceremony. I rather enjoyed walking through the streets. However at the beginning of the ceremony they performed the beginning of ‘Les Miserables’ but instead of expolited prisoners, they sung about the slavery of car-use. This was very funny.
The neighborhood came alive! The absence of cars wans’t strange at all. Restaurants and cafe shops can put up tables outside. Pedestrians can enjoy the area better. Here you can see how the owner of this place shows off his singing skills.
In short, ICLEI and the city of Suwon have done wonders without magic. They simply removed all cars from an area and they came up with a great entertainment program during this time. This attracts a lot of visitors and they will indirectly learn a lot about sustainable transport. On this first day, around 5000 people visited the festival and I hope that the number will increase during the following weeks.