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Some more comments from a recently completed 72 day, 4,100 kilometres cycling touring trip through the States of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California with the southern terminus being Santa Barbara.

Cycling on Interstate Highways

Questions frequently asked: “You cycle on interstate highways? Why would you want to cycle on interstate highways?  Why would you not use frontage roads beside interstate highways instead?”

Cycling on Interstate Highways.
I-90, Ritzville, WA
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

Well, I do and enjoy the opportunity to do so in the mid-western states where there are very few access limitations to cyclists.


Cycling on Interstate Highways with trucks, buses, motorcycles, and other vehicles.
I-90. Missoula, MT
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

There are many reasons for this.  One does have to accept the noise of trucks, cars, and motorcycles passing continuously by. 










Rethreaded tire litter on Interstate Highway shoulders.
I-90, Washington State
©Photograph by H-JEH
Becker, 2012

Somes steel removed from the front tire of the touring bicycle. It was difficult to get out. Fortunately, no flat tire.
Interstate Highway I-5, Williams CA
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

One has to put up with unmaintained highway shoulders littered with junks of rethreaded tires cast dangerously out on road shoulders by fast speeding trucks.  One has to put up with risks of tire flats from the steel sticking out from these junks of rethread tires or broken off steel pieces deposited on highway shoulders.  Flats can happen at the most undesirable time late in the day, during rain downpours, on steep hills, when time is getting late to reach the night’s destination, when energy has been burned up, and so on. On has to be continuously aware of other garbage thrown out of cars and trucks that could cause problems for cyclists.  Ah, nothing like cycling on the shoulders of interstate highways after a cleaning.


Wide shoulders on interstate highways with rumble strip separation of motor traffic and cyclists.
I-90, Missoula, MT
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

Noise from passing trucks and wind effect on cyclists.
I-5, Weed, CA
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

Interstate shoulders provide a cyclist with the comfort of exclusively cycling on a surface with a width of a traffic lane while separated from motorized traffic usually by rumble strips.  There is the glory of cycling on such a wide shoulder where passing traffic does not require attention.  The noise is the nuisance not the behaviours of motorists.  Wind effects of passing trucks and buses are usually nullified, except for very strong crosswinds.


Interstate highways tend to have hills with less grade than frontage roads.
I-5 Chehalis, WA
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

Frequently there are frontage roads next to interstate highways. How far do these roads go? Are there intersections at the end of these roads to cycle onto the interstate highways?
I-90 Moses Lake, WA
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

When time is a consideration, interstate highways provide a cycling surface with the least amount of grades in the most direct way to that day’s destination.  Frontage roads tend to have steeper grades and more wind, and seem to attract drivers’ speed and drift through curbs using the full road width.



One is never certain how long there will be a frontage road and how to continue the trip without doubling back to the last intersection or lifting a bicycle and its panniers over a fence onto an interstate highway.


Oh yes, one might actually come upon a convenience stop once a day on interstate highways.

Rest stops along interstate highways. At least one for each cycling day.
I-90, Washington State
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

Rest stops along interstate highways. At least one for each cycling day.
I-90, Moses Lake, WA
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

Rest stops along interstate highways. Windmill powered electricity for the rest stop.
I-90, Washington State
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

















When sections of highways restricted for cyclists use are reached, some states provide signed alternate routes until they are allowed back onto the interstate again (I-90 Bike Trail, for example).


The sign that cyclists hate to see when on a trip.
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

Cycling on interstate highway is restricted. Alternate cycling route is signed.
I-5, Spokane, WA
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

An alternate cycling routing along a bike trail parallel to an interstate highway.
The Coeur d’Alene Trail parallel to the I-90.
From Mullen to Harrison, ID
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012


An alternate cycling routing along a bike trail parallel to an interstate highway.
©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2012

































So, when there are no alternative roads readily available, interstate and other restricted-access highways provide more direct routes for cyclists.  When the scenery is the same for all parallel roads, then interstate highways provide less demanding hills for cyclists.

Interstate highways with wide, paved shoulders, with wide shoulders or bike paths on bridges, with rumble strips providing separation between motor vehicles and cyclists, with maintenance programs calling for frequent removal of debris from highway shoulders, with convenience stops comfortably spaced apart for senior-aged cyclists, with signed, alternate cycling routes for section of highways restricted to cycling, with underpasses at high-traffic intersections, then these highways provide a pleasant alternative for cyclists who can handle the noise. Government banning of rethreaded tires would also take away the concern of flats on trips, especially for those cyclists that are not adept at changing flat tires or would not make a trip by bicycle because of fear of flats.
 

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Walk offers different views along the way. San Antonio TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

Walk offers different views along the way. San Antonio TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

  In 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Seoul, South Korea and explore the Seoul Ditch, as I like to call it.  It is better known as the Cheonggyechon Stream.  The rehabilitation of the river was done in an excellent manner by providing a bit of rural space within a city for people to walk and explore.

In  February 2012, I had the opportunity to return to San Antonio, Texas and revisit the River Walk (Paseo del Rio).  The last time I was here, was a couple of decades ago with my then, 12-year-old daughter as I attended a conference.  Two weeks before Christmas, we sat at a restaurant table adjacent to a stonewall that lined the river.  Candles were burning in brown bags placed closely together on the top of the River Walk stone walls.  A very picture perfect scene it was.

Public tile painted art along River Walk. San Antonio, TX 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

Public art along River Walk. San Antonio, TX 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

  On the way from the airport to the hotel, the taxi driver was relating a story on the expansion of the River Walk, the supposed cost, the taxi service on the river, and other information that a tourist wants to hear.

From a modest beginning, the San Antonio River Walk is now about 8 kilometres in length with some additional branches connecting points of interest.

“The San Antonio River Walk is a public park, open 365 days a year. It is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath approximately 8 km (5 miles) of downtown San Antonio.  The River Walk is an important part of the city’s urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right.  The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks , lined with restaurants, shops, hotels and more. It connects the major tourist draws from the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall, Arneson River Theatre and La Villita, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Pearl Brewery.  Over 20 events take place on the River Walk every year.”  (Source – http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/about/the-san-antonio-river-walk/)

River Walk’s Development Started in 1939 
River Walk has a long history, with work started on it in 1939.  In 1962, work 

Pedestrians and others waiting for water taxi / river cruise. San Antonio, TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

Pedestrians and others waiting for water taxi / river cruise. San Antonio, TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

  started to develop the River Walk, as we know it today with Texan or Mexican architecture, riverside businesses, and landscaping which  encompasses 17,000 assorted trees, shrubs, vines, and ground cover.

Different views along River Walk. San Antonio, TX 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

Different views along River Walk. San Antonio, TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

  The Walk is fashioned after the early architecture  was finished primarily in stone.  With a walk in each side of the river, one passes through treed landscape in calm and peacefulness.  Herons sit in trees above the water. Historic and more modern buildings line the Walk with entrances from the river.  Taxi stops are conveniently located to hop on a riverboat and continue the journey by water.  The noise of downtown, is lost among the foliage and river.

The Walk is divided into the peaceful stretches and tourist commercial sections.  Here one can later, sit by the river, enjoy a meal or a drink and listen to the sounds of a Mexican band. In the park-like sections, one can wander, sit and contemplate, look at flowers and trees, view wall art, read about the local history on wall plaques, and find oneself on the Walk maps  that line the river. Cars pass unnoticed overhead as streets cross.

Walk is connected to the Market area. San Antonio, TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

Walk connects to the market area. San Antonio, TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

The River Walk is well connected into the downtown commercial area, including the plaza at City Hall  and to the Market, sometimes by landscaped connections, sometimes by staircases with direction signage.  Establishments extend to the Walk providing services, drink, and food.  A set of stairs leads to a local art community.  Other public venues are touched by the Walk.

Heron spotted along River Walk. San Antonio, TX. 2012 Photo by HJEH Becker

Heron spotted along River Walk. San Antonio, TX. 2012 Photo by HJEH Becker

 Compared to Cheonggyechon Stream, the River Walk lacks sufficient public space along the riverside for programming and for people to gather for events, except for the city hall plaza which is half-block away.  The walkways are meant for pedestrians, although one sees an occasional cyclist on the paths.  The walkways do not have the capacity for people wishing to experience the river in a peaceful manner, without being crowded. 

The river is a tranquil place. A bike path along it would increase the attraction and the use of the public bike system.

Further Reading:
Becker, Jack.    Seoul, South  Korea- Parting Thoughts.  The Ditch: Cheonggyechon Stream. In Third  

River Walk winds through also residential areas. San Antonio TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

River Walk winds through also residential areas. San Antonio TX. 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

Wave Cycling Blog.  Nov. 7, 2011.

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Coloured paved bike lanes were used often for visibility. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Coloured paved bike lanes were used often for visibility. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 A short visit to Changwon in South Korea last October left a few impressions. 

The City government’s website speaks towards the city’s desire to be a very green city and model for other cities to follow.  The Mayor is committed to that.  Want to hear him speak on this?  Then come to the Velo-city Global 2012 Conference in Vancouver June 26 to 29, 2012 where he will be a Key Speaker.

Some of the first impressions of the city in the urban core were streets with green canopies from lines of trees along streets, very wide sidewalks, and the network of separated bike lanes.  As I walked along the streets, the public bike system then took my attention.

Public Bike Share System Well Used by Locals
This is the first city where I saw the activity level at that of the Vélib’ system in Paris or the Vélo’v system in Lyon.  Bike stations were only one-third full with   bicycles.  Young school adults were walking up to the stations in groups of two, three, and four taking out bikes and then continuing their conversations while cycling away at a pleasurable pace.  Senior women were cycling on their public bikes from stores with their daily purchases in racks on front of the bikes.  Senior men were cycling deep in thought to their destinations.
 

Public bike share cyclist cycling behind another cyclist. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Public bike share cyclist cycling behind another cyclist. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

  Public  bicycles did not disappear from the streets with onset of darkness.  Like Paris,  their use continues during the night.  Integration of these bicycles with the transit system is important here.  Some stations are located by bus stops in higher density residential areas allowing for the last leg of a trip or the first to be completed by bicycle.  Their Nubija Bike System (“Nearby Useful Bike, Interesting Joyful Attraction“) was introduced in October, 2009 with the aim of contributing to an eco-friendly urban environment.  In fact, one can cycle one of these bicycles down a main road right beside large community garden plots.

Countdown traffic lights by using illuminated chevrons. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Countdown traffic lights by using illuminated chevrons. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

  Tourists and Public Bike Share: A Challenge
As a visitor, the system is unfriendly.  No plugging in your credit card with the magic chip into the card reader at public bike stations.  The system is not set up for visitors, only inhabitants or local workers.  As a visitor, one needs to find one’s way to city hall.  Then one is told to go to a municipal office.  Once one finds it, then a ticket can be purchased there. One is on the way to cycling on a public bike.  There is nothing spontaneous for visitors for using the public bike system.

 Changwon is a friendly place to cycle from the downtown core to the 

Bike lane by bus stop. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Bike lane by bus stop. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 neighbourhoods.  The city is well situated to spur cycling growth and the use of public bike.  The certainly have high expectations.  The downtown terrain is flat.  There are plenty of shopping destinations.  There are dedicated cycling facilities to use.

Under the canopies of deciduous trees, a wide promenade stretches along streetways with some form of physical separation from general traffic lanes used by motorized vehicles.  These medians are a prime place for trees.

Public bike work here as the downtown area has a cycling network that appeals to non-cyclists.  There are separated cycling facilities and bike lanes on streets.  Some bike lanes are even separated from both drivers and pedestrians by green medians.  Some cycling paths are physically separated from motorists but abut pedestrian ways.  Usually coloured surfaces designate the use of each path. 

Teenagers cycling. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Teenagers cycling. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 Coloured Pavement Increase Cycling Lane Visibility
Visibility is important to make cyclists feel comfortable on the road.  Changwon has done its part.  Colour on designate cycling facilities is frequently used, no matter if the adjacent traffic are motorists or pedestrians.  Sometimes the bike lanes are coloured the full length, as well.

The intimidation of intersections has been reduced.  For pedestrians, there are frequent underpasses.  For surface crossing, there are countdown signals using arrows as the time display.  Bike lanes crossing over intersections are coloured for private drives, lanes, local, or arterial roads.
 

Road intersection downtown. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Road intersection downtown. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 Even a quick visit makes one reflect on the slow way that North American cities are approaching their expectations of cycling mode share for the future with minimal annual investments in their infrastructure and their social marketing programs for cycling.  Changwon and other cities have more courage in investing significant monies into their cycling aspirations.  Money is always tight for municipalities and other levels of government.  The question may be by diverting health care funding to cycling infrastructure and social marketing for cycling, how much of the future health 

Sheltered bike rack across from public bike share stations. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Sheltered bike rack across from public bike share stations. Changwon, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

  care costs can be reduced.  Front-end investments may be the way to avoid burgeoning health care costs, or at least delaying them for a decade or more.  For cities and other levels of government, it is a matter of transportation and especially liveable, sustainable, and green urban community policies that produce energetic, liveable cities with growing local economy and retailing.  It is a matter of revisiting these policies for the optimal benefit to people and their health.

Changwon is a city that is very similar in size and population to Calgary with 1 million residents and 743 sq. kilometres of land but that is where the similarities end.  This city is known for its heavy industrial industries.  While urban sprawl may be the way for many Korean cities, Changwon is an exception as it is a planned city since 1974 with many parks and gardens throughout the city giving it a different feel.

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Hotel view of a interesection for a 10 lane road bisecting a 6-lane road  to watch traffic ballet. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Hotel view of an interesection for 10 lane road bisecting a 6-lane road to watch traffic ballet. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 Arriving late at night at a five-star hotel, my  first impressions were the number of smiling hotel staff  that looked after the guests :  from pushing the elevator buttons to cleaning the buttons after each use.  It seemed that there was more staff than guests.  Staff were very polite, smiling, and provided excellent service.

Cyclists navigate their way on same wide road among trucks, cars and motorcycles. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Cyclists navigate their way on same wide road among trucks, cars and motorcycles. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 Watching Traffic Ballet:  10-Lane Road Bisecting 6-Lane Road
However, from a transportation viewpoint, the melodic sounds of car and truck horns playing out an unorchestrated concert at seven in the morning , was the first introduction to the city’s streetscape in front of the hotel.   The room looked down onto a 10-lane road intersecting a six-lane road.  The ten-lane road was divided with two lanes on each side, separating the inner six lanes with small medians of trees.  The traffic seemed to be equally divided with just slightly more cars and trucks than bicycles.  Some of the bicycles seemed more like a motorcycle – two and three wheel variety, outfitted to carry goods and work material.

Cyclists on 10-lane road. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Cyclists on 10-lane road. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

  Bus Drivers, Motorcyclists and Cyclists Dance to Avoid One Another
At the intersection, cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians did a ballet to the sound of the horn-orchestra to make their way through the intersection.  Dancing, pivoting, swerving, weaving, and coming to a quick stop, were the ballet steps.  In some strange way, it was all harmonious.  A few days later, I was taken to the airport through the intersection, in daytime by taxi.  The perspective from the back seat, was much different than from the hotel room, as cyclists veered to avoid the taxis that were not stopping for anyone.  A transportation planner commented that the days for these types of intersections, were coming to an end.

Occasional worker-cyclist with his utility tricycle for transporting loads. Changzi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Occasional worker-cyclist with their utility tricycle for transporting loads. Changzi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

  There was another 10-lane street through the heart of the city again with treed-medians separating two lanes from the inner six-lanes and thoroughly clogged with traffic.  For this street, a design exercise was under way to consider how two lanes of traffic could be reassigned to bus lanes.  The thought was to take two lanes away from one side of the street.  Nowhere in the discussion was consideration given to taking any lanes and reassigning them to cycling.

Umbrella toting cyclists while riding were quite common and nonchalant. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Umbrella toting cyclists while riding were quite common and nonchalant. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

  In the city core, the roads were so congested with cars that the traffic moved slowly.  Somehow cyclists managed to make their way through it all.  “Slow motorized vehicle driving speed at approximately cycling speed encourages cycling”, so goes the hypothesis.  The question remains:  how may cyclists will be drawn to slow speed?  Just a borderline few cyclists or the mega throng that used to cycle and now drive?  Now the question also may be posed as:  how many drivers will be drawn from their cars if cycling facilities were installed that really appealed to drivers?  Some insight to this question is being seen with evidence-based data in some cities, such as Vancouver, where a comprehensive cycling traffic volume monitoring program has been undertaken.  24-hour monitoring is being done on separated cycling facilities and bike lanes as well at other locations.

Cyclist and motorcyclist travel through a centuries old village section within Changzhi, China

Cyclist and motorcyclist travel through a centuries old village section within Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 Meanwhile, in an older part of the city with walled blocks, and a 300-year old Buddha temple where personal income may  not be so high, there is light traffic with most of it by a very basic moped.

The mayor and the deputy mayor both iterated that they want Changzhi to become a model city of sustainable transportation for China.  The statements came forth with conviction at private lunches with the two officials and the speakers of a Shared Transport Forum in October, 2011 where I had the privilege of being invited to speak.

What a difference between the airports of Beijing and Changzhi.  Beijing is a very modern, high traffic, and high efficient airport where passengers are  

Cyclists pouring down their 2 lanes by a treed lane in a 10 lane wide road. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Cyclists pouring down their 2 lanes by a treed lane in a 10 lane wide road. Among the traffic confusion with cars and trucks. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 moved through quickly.  Changzhi airport is a reminder of the airports that I used to fly into during the 1970’s in Northern Ontario  — very basic with extremely limited service where one took only 5 to 10 minutes to go from the parking lot to the departure gate.  Somehow, and sometimes expansiveness such as Beijing airport, does not mean efficient travelling.

Changzhi is a city of  approximately 700,000 people within the Province of Shanxi.  Shanix has a population of about 3.2 million and is  located  650 km. south-west of Beijing.  It is a transportation and industrial center. Manufacturing includes iron and steel machinery.  Coal, iron ore, and asbestos are mined nearby.  It is regarded as a medium comprehensive industrial city.

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The Seoul Ditch – Better Known as the Cheonggyechon Stream

Cheonggyechon Stream in downtown core of Seoul, South Korea. Uncovered after expressway torn down. This section of bubbling natural water offers walking stones for pedestrians to cross over to the other side 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Cheonggyechon Stream in downtown core of Seoul, South Korea. Uncovered after expressway torn down. This section of bubbling natural water offers walking stones for pedestrians to cross over to the other side 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

  A place for commuting,  walking, exercising, thinking, reflecting, talking, resting, enjoying the arts, being entertained, and communicating with nature.

When I first arrived, I read or heard somewhere that the stream brings a wind of fresh air into the central part of the downtown core in Seoul.  And that was the first thing that I noticed as I took the steps from the street to the water’s edge.  I heard that the stream decreased the air temperature by a few degrees Celsius.  So, I also noticed that.

Looking down Cheonggyechon Stream with downtown skyline of Seoul, 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Looking down Cheonggyechon Stream with background downtown skyline of Seoul, 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 One has to salute the wisdom and foresight of the conceiver of this idea:   tear down an expressway that covered over an old stream that was then, very polluted and replace it with a linear park. 

As I walked the full length of the 8.3 km stream before it joins a river, I kept looking for fish.  Halfway to the river junction, my search ended as large fishes swam about.  If they are bottom suckers or fish that thrive in clean water, I do not know.

Eight Kilometre Stream with Character Changes Along the Way
One has to admire the creativity of the designer for this stream.  Can one find things to complain about? (Of course, as we are good at that.)  However, one must admire this new wonder of the world.   It combines all the elements that 

Various public art installations along the way, including sculpture of woman carrying a water jug. Cheonggyehon Stream. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Various public art installations along the way, including sculpture of woman carrying a water jug. Cheonggyechon Stream. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 makes it a complete design.  Elements of breathing fresh air, exercise, sports, the arts from visual to sensual, performance, mosaics to statue, places to sit and think, relax, to listen to the city and its creatures, light as artistic expression and live art that changes regularly with new themes. 

It is a stream that changes character constantly from urban sterility to touches of rural trees and vegetation.  From new concrete pathways and walls of today, to rocks that cross the stream as bridges and have seen centuries behind them.  From bare concrete-faced walls to hanging natural, living wall cover that reflects the colours of autumn. 

Bike-pedestrian bridgfe further out from downtonw. Variety of areas along the Stream exhibit different personalities. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Bike-pedestrian bridge further out from downtown. Variety of areas along the Stream exhibit different personalities. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

This area of the stream and pedestrian walkway was devoted to a breast cancer fundraising event for a few days. Seoul,South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

This area of the stream and pedestrian walkways, was devoted to a breast cancer fundraising event for a few days. Seoul,South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 At lunchtime, the walkway is congested as any street in large cities.  At other times, it is not deserted as people walk, sit and contemplate, or exercise along the stream.  From formal exercise equipment to stretching along the path,  

Occasionally there are exercise machine installed for anyone to use by the stream. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Occasional fitness equipment installed for anyone to use by the stream. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

people do their thing.  Closer to downtown, pedestrians are occasionally joined on the too narrow walkways with a few cyclists. 

More Cyclists On Well-Designed Bike Path
However, further east there is a very well designed two-way bike path, coloured green with edge and centre lines, frequent cycling stencils and with street lighting for darkness.  The path sweeps down from a parallel street along the stream and continues out to the river.

The few cyclists in the downtown sections are now replaced with a continuous stream of cyclists of all ages – the old, the soon to be old, the ones making progress in their life, and the young.  Now commuting and exercising becomes the drive for cycling.  Some have bandannas covering their mouths.  Others have them close by, just in case.

Bike paths along Cheongyyechon Stream are generally well-marked for cyclists. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Bike paths along Cheongyyechon Stream are generally well-marked for cyclists. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

One of several pedestrian bridges crossing the Stream, each a different character. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

One of several pedestrian bridges crossing the Stream, each a different design. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Bike share system near Cheonyyechon Stream and bike path.  Located abit away from downtown to serve weekend cyclists. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Public bike share system by Cheonggyechon Stream and bike path. Located abit away from downtown to serve weekend cyclists. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Finally, I stumbled onto a public bike share system station, the only one I saw.  It is well positioned to service the weekend crowd that wants to go for a spin.

Cycling in the City
Downtown, a fair amount of cycling is done.  Much of it is on sidewalks although even in rush hours you see some cyclists taking up the inside traffic lane.  Some were in ordinary work clothes, others were in their spandex and helmets with their fancy bicycles.  Many had very utilitarian bicycles with a back rack and a high extension to put on too many goods for delivery.

In the urban core, the only cycling facility that I came across was a red coloured bike in front of the palace grounds where it was  too packed with touring buses and cars, not cyclists. 

Cycling on a bike path by the Stream  with the pet dog in side bike basket.  Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Cycling on bike path by the Stream with the pet dog in side bike basket. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Cyclists and electric wheelchair user out on a fall, crisp day. Some cyclists wear bandanas over their mouths --though it wasn't very cold nor smoggy. By Cheonggyechon Stream, bike path. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Cyclists and electric wheelchair user out on a fall, crisp day. Some cyclists wear bandanas over their mouths --though it wasn't very cold nor smoggy. By Cheonggyechon Stream, bike path. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 As one leaves the downtown core, then cycling facilities started to appear.  On the road paralleling the Stream, the one-way road has a bicycle lane on the left (not right) side, well-marked but not coloured.

There seems to be a good system of bike paths along the rivers, usually coloured.  In suburbia, coloured bike lanes on new roads appeared regularly.  Some were physically separated from motorists and pedestrians, others were not.  Bike paths  are also parallel to the main railway line and highway to the Incheon airport.

Jumping blue dolphin sculptural art work in the Stream. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Blue dolphin sculptural art work seems to jump-dance in the Stream. Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Making Seoul a More Liveable, Shopping City
Priority number one, get the motorcycles and mopeds off the sidewalk. Step two, remove car and truck parking on sidewalks.  Then remove cyclists from sidewalks.  Follow the Paris lead.

With the Cheonggyechon Stream breathing more life into its downtown core now, the heart of Seoul becoming a more dynamic, lively place.

Further Reading:
TransLink.  Removing Freeways and Reforming Buses: An Interview with Dr. Kee Yeon Hwang President of the Korea Transport Institute.  In Buzzer Blog, Mar. 28, 2011.

Hand painted outdoor tile wall art, seen while walking along Cheongyyechon Stream 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Hand painted outdoor tile wall art, seen while walking along Cheonggyechon Stream 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

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