[EDITORIALS]Traffic hell arrives earlyThe traffic plan adopted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to restore the Cheonggye stream is being opposed even before it is implemented. The city seems set to go ahead with its plan to remove the elevated road covering the stream, starting in July, but local residents and businesses criticize the new traffic pattern. The police even put a brake on the city’s proposal. We wonder if construction should proceed despite the public’s objections.
If the city fails to effectively cope with the 170,000 cars using the street and the elevated road around the construction site daily, traffic nightmares are highly likely, not only in northeast Seoul but throughout the city.
The city began to remove the Wonnam elevated road as part of the stream restoration. That project is already creating severe traffic congestion in the area. It is easy to imagine the seriousness of the traffic snarls once the core construction begins. That is why the citizens council for the project set traffic alleviation as a condition for the restoration to start. That is why civic groups rejected hasty planning.
The city government proposed reorganizing bus routes into trunk and branch lines and introducing a main bus lane down the center of the street. The city also planned to add more one-way streets. The measures, however, show no signs of being put in place, although construction is scheduled to start in 20 days. The new bus routing for Dobong and Mia districts, the planned removal of the Mia elevated road and the designation of roads near Changgyeong Palace and the Daehangno district as one-way streets were criticized by the police. That the city and the police have failed to collaborate is a serious problem. The city seems poorly prepared for the work. The bus route reorganization was opposed by the bus industry and its effectiveness questioned.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it would devise a perfect traffic plan. It should not hurry to begin work just to meet the original schedule. It should test the traffic plan first and then begin construction. Demanding that the city endure serious traffic problems will only produce opposition to the restoration project.