Sogong’s Parking Lot, Unused Space in Central Seoul

Seoul_Sogong (1)After a five minute walk from Myeong-dong, the most popular tourist destination in Seoul, I stood in front of a parking lot. It isn’t an underground parking garage or one of Korea’s infamous parking towers. It was nothing that anyone would expect in the center of one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is a simple, one-level parking ground and the location right in the heart of Seoul. This post is going to take a look at the area and thanks to the contribution of a reader, we will show you an example of how this area could be developed. Read more of this post

Opinion Piece on Banning Standing Passengers

During the research for the previous article about the government’s plans to ban standing on the red buses, I came across an opinion piece by Dr. Jaehak Oh, who works for the Korea Transport Institute. You can find an interview about his background and work here. The article I want to introduce was written back in June, shortly after the government unveiled their plans.

I won’t comment on the content of the article. Here’s my translation (There could be some errors and misinterpretations.): Read more of this post

No More Standing in Red Buses

A huge change awaits the public transportation in the capital region of Korea: In order to improve convenience and safety of buses, standing passengers won’t be allowed anymore on the majority of red buses. This measure was announced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) in June and next week the measure will be implemented. Read more of this post

Yonsei-ro, Seoul’s First Transit Mall

Seoul_Transit_Mall (11)A transformation took place in Sinchon (신촌), a popular nightlife area in front of Yonsei University! Seoul forbids private cars on the main road Yonsei-ro since January 2014. This measure was accompanied by a overall facelift of that street. The 500 meters from Sinchon Station to Yonsei University became the first transit mall of Seoul. Last Friday I had the chance to explore the area. In my opinion, it is an outstanding project and the area improved immensely. Others areas in Seoul and all over Korea are going to get transit malls, too. Let me explain the details of Korea’s transit mall concept. I’ve made many pictures of the new Yonsei-ro in order to make it easier to understand.  Read more of this post

Bicycle Paths on Jeju-Do

Korea is a great country for leisure cycling. This can be experienced first hand at the major rivers and on Jeju-do, the largest island of South Korea. I’ve traveled to Jeju-do and cycled along the shore for a week. The island is very special in many aspects. Here I want to take a closer look at the bike infrastructure because  Jeju-do offers certain types of bike lanes.

This was my route (each color represents a different day):

Jejubicycle

Please click here for an interactive Google Map! As usual for cycling tours around Jeju, the route was anti-clockwise. I recorded the trip with Strava and at the end it said that I cycled 283 km.  Read more of this post

Amazing Dongdaemun Design Plaza

dongdaemun design plaza (5)Finally I visited the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, in short DDP, which opened on March 21st. As you can already tell by the name, it lies in the famous Dongdaemun shopping area. This very futuristic building is the new hub for design and modern culture in Korea. It is also very photogenic design, so  I took pictures with my phone and GoPro (so some pictures have a wide-angle, fish-eye effect!). If you want to see better pictures, please go to Robert Koehler’s Flickr-page or to his Tumblr. Let’s explore the Dongdaemun Design Plaza together. Read more of this post

China will build a HSR through North Korea

No country in the world is expanding its high-speed rail (HSR) network as fast as China. It’s impressive how many thousands of kilometers they have built and how they connected the most important cities. China is even competing with countries like Germany, Korea or France for high-speed rail construction projects in countries around the world. Note that HSR was introduced in 2007 in China! And now, China is going to build a HSR line in the most unexpected place: North Korea. Read more of this post

Nubija, Changwon’s Bike-Sharing Service

IMG_5044Once I’ve introduced bike-sharing in Korea at Kojects and there I just briefly mentioned Nubija, the bike-sharing program of Changwon. This is a city on the southern coast of Korea. Among all Korean cities, Changwon has the largest system with ca. 3,000 bicycles and 240 stations. Whereas the national average of bicycle ridership is somewhere between 1 and 2 %, around 10% cycle in Changwon. Last week I’ve traveled to Changwon in order to learn more about the city’s success. With this post I want to share my impression with you. Read more of this post

Bitter, Sweet, Seoul

Today’s post isn’t related to transport or urban development in Korea. Still it shows something wonderful about Seoul, which is worth to share. Seoul initiated a project to produce a movie  with the help of movie directors Park Chan-Wook and Park Chan-Kyong. The directors didn’t film anything! Over a period of three month in 2013 anybody could upload their private videos, which just had to follow the condition that it is made in Seoul. Over 10,000 videos have been submitted and the movie directors chose videos from 141 participants, which they edited to a one-hour movie. The result is pretty nice and this project shows how important the citizens are for Seoul Metropolitan Government. The current Mayor Park Won-Soon puts people in the center of his policies. Enjoy this video!

Some Numbers: Speed Cameras and Cyclist Deaths

In the last days I’ve read some very interesting numbers in two Korean news articles. The first news article is about traffic speed control and the second article shows the issue of cyclist deaths. I translated the most important information and I hope that others find these numbers interesting, too.

Speeding in Seoul

The allowed driving speed in Korean cities is 60 km/h. Even though this is already a very high speed (too high in my opinion), a lot of drivers seem to be speeding. Many streets have speed control sensors and cameras. In 2011 they have caught 416,397 cases, 2012 it grew to 422,245 cases and 2013 recorded a new record: 508,837 cases of speeding. You may think that they increased the number of controls but actually 2013 there were 413 active speed control cameras, while there have been 446 in 2011 and 388 in 2012. Ah, I didn’t tell you the best thing about this statistics: These numbers are only of Seoul! There have been half a million cars in Seoul recorded and fined for speeding. Fines are given for speeds of 72 km/h or more and so probably many car drivers are driving high speeds of 80 km/h inside the city. (Source: 서울이 막힌다고 안심?…과속단속 이곳을 조심하라)

Deaths of Cyclist on Korean Streets

Another article focuses on accidents involving cyclists. In 2010 there have been 11,259 bicycle accidents, 2011 recorded 12,121 cases and there have been 12,970 accidents in 2012. In the last years couple of years, it seems like there wasn’t a large increase. However, if you consider that there have been only 6,024 cases in 2003, it’s an alarming number of traffic accidents. The number of cyclists grew due to it’s trendy image in the last years and promotion by the Korean government. Among the accidents around 300 have been deadly (2010: 297, 2011: 275, 2012: 295). Considering that the modal share of cycling is around 1% in Korea, this is a very high number of deaths. Teenager and elderly have the most accidents on bicycles. The article tries to highlight the reasons behind the high numbers. It mentions that the mindset about cycling has to change. Bicycle and vehicles are equal traffic participants. Cars have to raise more awareness on cyclists on the streets. (Source: 자전거 교통사고로 年 300명 사망)

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