Seoul To Construct More Bicycle-only Lanes
Quote of the day: "Our goal is to make 30 percent of the total population use bicycles as public transportation." - Oh Gwang-hyun, South Korean official.
Seoul, the capital of South Korea is taking measures against global warming and responding to the high prices of gas by constructing more bicycle-only lanes throughout the city. "A city cannot effectively cope with global warming issues and traffic congestion if people commute only by car,'' according to Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon. "We will develop Seoul into a city where citizens can commute by bicycle.''
Seoul will reduce the number of lanes for other vehicles on major roads and create new bicycle paths. Korea Times notes that the program will require the construction of 17 main cycle paths totaling 200 kilometers for citizens to easily and safely travel by bicycle in the city:
According to the city government, only 1.6 percent of commuters use bicycles in Seoul, partly due to a lack of dedicated paths. But the city government vowed to increase the figure to 4.4 percent by 2012, 7.6 percent by 2016, and 10 percent by 2020. The city will also construct other facilities such as bicycle racks at 16 subway stations, complete with shower rooms and lockers for cyclists to use before they travel on the subway. On top of expanding infrastructure, experts called on the government to hold campaigns and educational sessions to form a culture of bicycle riding so that citizens can recognize bicycles not only as a vehicle for transportation or leisure but part of a lifestyle.
Busan, the country’s second largest city, is also stepping up construction of bicycle paths, and have decided to build the first-ever bicycle path in the heart of the city near Pukyong National University and Kyung Sung University. The 1.2-kilometer cycle lane will be built by May 2009. Officials say they hope to create a bicycle-friendly nation that promotes a healthier, more active lifestyle for everyone. “We want to make the country the most bicycle-friendly place in the world,” said Oh Gwang-hyun, an official at the South Chungcheong provincial office.