Since the first time that I’ve heard that the whole Cheonggyecheon is going to be sidelined with bike paths, I waited for this day. I marked it in my calendar, too. Finally, today on this lovely Sunday was the first event and together with a lot of other people I cycled from the beginning to the stream on car-free roads and on separated bike lanes.
I wrote about the plans in another post. The trial period doesn’t only consist of temporary bike lanes, rather a small festival is going to be held every time. Some parts of the roads have been closed completely for cars. The purpose was to allow cyclists a safe and enjoyable ride. It had also positive effects on pedestrians.
The previous and next pictures show that the event encouraged citizens to bring their bike to the inner-city of Seoul.
Ten years ago the stream was covered by cement and an elevated highway led through this area. Probably, nobody couldn’t imagine back in the past that nowadays people are relaxing at the stream and cycling on the streets along the Cheonggyechoen.
It was also possible to rent bicycles for free. Of course, I used this offer and cycled for an half hour. The bike rental was available until 4 pm and I just had to give my ID card as a deposit. There have been various events but because I arrived a little bit late, I couldn’t do anything except renting a bike. For example, it was possible to do “missions” like collecting stamps at every bridge of the stream. Something like this makes it to an interesting event for families.
The picture above shows me on a section where the temporary bike lane was tested. It was wide enough to cycle but another cyclist wouldn’t be able to pass me without using the car lane. The biggest problem, which I observed, was the traffic light system: When I had green on some intersections, the pedestrians, who wanted to cross my road, had also a green light. I don’t think that it’s usually like this because then car’s are unable to cross the intersection.
I didn’t count how many bicycles have been available for citizens. As you can see in the picture above, the bicycles have been mountain bikes. Helmets have been also possible to rent but nobody enforced their usage. I rent a bike at 3:20 pm and at that time, there haven’t been a lot of bikes left. The picture was taken at 4 pm, as you had to bring all bike back.
It was a great experience to have a inner-city road for oneself. Now the Cheonggyecheon bike path is separated by traffic cones but later there will be only a line to separate the bike lane from car traffic. For better safety I would like to see a physical barrier between cars and cyclist but they are also enough arguments against that. The next time (in a month) I’ll have to go there again and this time hopefully a little bit earlier to cycle to along the Cheonggyecheon stream from the beginning to the end.