When Seoul removed an elevated expressway and restored the stream that was buried for decades. How is it faring over ten years later?

13 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Cheonggyechon Restoration”

  1. Comparing Seoul to Seattle, let’s speculate what would have happened to local transportation issues if Seattle had built the Westlake Commons park instead of developing South Lake Union into office and residential towers. Would Amazon have located their campus somewhere else in Seattle? Maybe SODO, ID or Pioneer Square? Looking back and considering the transportation issues that Amazon has created in SLU, it might have been better to have built the park in SLU and then to have located Amazon somewhere closer to the existing mass transportation services (King Street Station, bus tunnel, light rail).

    1. Good point. Of course if they had located in the suburbs somewhere, then transportation would have been much worse. A lot of their offices are a fairly close walk from Westlake, which is arguably the center of our transportation system (even the though commuter rail doesn’t serve it).

    2. Amazon has so many buildings that it wouldn’t fit many other places in Seattle, unless you assume SLU-level upzoning that the city has so far shied away from. SODO has plenty of space, but eliminating industry would change the nature of the city and make it more vulnerable to boom-and-bust in one sector. Amazon could maybe go with the U-District, Northgate, or Lake City upzones if they had been ten years ago, but that might not have been enough room. It would likely overwhelm the U-District’s culture which would be a bad thing. Northgate doesn’t have a culture except shopping, so it would fit in better there. But it would essentially require Link, which still hasn’t gotten there. Lake City seems too isolated for what Amazon wants. Interbay could be another possibility with sufficient upzoning, but it would be linear along an expressway feeder, so not the 2D/plaza format that generates creativity.

    3. I never read anything about where else Amazon was looking when they moved from Beacon Hill to SLU. While nothing like what they are building now, their initial plan for a campus in SLU was pretty ambitious for a young company. I’d be super curious to learn what other locations they considered, but I’ve never seen any reporting on that.

      What has happen to SLU is excellent from an urbanist point of view, redeveloping low rise blocks into dense, active space. Yes, transit service there can be improved, but it’s not that bad and it will certainly improve over time (just look at how much better it is with the C extension). Adding 20,000 employees to a neighborhood like Interbay or Lake City would have been much, much more disruptive than having that growth adjacent to the downtown core.

      1. I agree. South Lake Union is often treated like it is a completely different part of town, when it is simply the north end of downtown. Amazon, as it turns out, has located many of its buildings south of Denny, which is within walking distance to Westlake Center, which is certainly in the heart of downtown. It is probably the ideal location for those trying to walk or take public transportation.

    4. I’m not sure it would’ve mattered. On the grand scale the number of blocks occupied by the commons wouldn’t have displaced that many building sites. They could’ve just built the next block over. There were still a lot of vacant/underutilized blocks in SLU as of even just a year ago. It’s only this year that it’s reallt starting to look filled up.

  2. Not worried for South Lake Union. After Amazon flees to its Sanctuary City, we can flood the roof and give streetcar sightseers Seattle’s own Niagara Falls by flooding the roof of something too ugly to be a cliff.

    Pretty sure South Koreans won’t make us wait for help ’til our ambassadorial hiring team changes to help us imitate them. Though North will start to worry when we bring back the draft.

    Earlier this year, had badly-needed beautiful evening LINK ride ruined by being warned that next time I “tap on”- as every posted warning demands- while forgetting to “tap off”- I’ll get exact same fine as if I’d deliberately stolen a ride.

    Only worse fury I’ve encountered over this matter ever since is when I tell every responsible individual I can catch that, since I’ve carried a fully pre-paid monthly pass for 22 years, don’t call me a thief. Even worse is denial they just did.

    If “nobody” is calling me that, maybe the fare inspector was wrong about the $124 fine I’ll get next time my homies and me “throw down” on a helpless yellow reader and tap on at gunpoint after not tapping off.

    That policy has got to go fast enough it triggers the “overspeed” on its own control board. Agreed, several officials have done me the courtesy of explaining the rationale behind the policy.

    Unfortunate that not a word of it tells me why the prepaid ORCA pass the system is begging me to buy isn’t Blanket Immunity on Fare Evasion. Instead of State’s Evidence!

    Like the little cardboard Day Pass I now Second-Amendment-Close-Carry every LINK ride. Also denying the system the very information my card would were I dumb enough to show it. (Secretly always do tap it correctly but please don’t blow my cover.)

    Don’t sense conspiracy, but a system trapped in a Brillo Pad of a policy of its own making. Or more likely, irrevocable decision to implement a turnstile exit system. With District Court for a turnstile.

    Being long-life-long passenger, and ORCA’s chief offboard-fare advocate, I’ve had by last ride spoiled. Travelling peace of mind worth beats lower fare. You need more money, I’ll round my monthly pass to an even $125. And just like my threatened fine does, forget my Senior Fare.

    With me or against (both positions valuable) any info badly needed. Starting with how many people have actually paid the full fine over same violation since LINK started. Personal, and hearsay. Fake News only if your pass says Kellyanne Conway.

    Would like posting, and much else I’m planning to at least have the ring of reality. Many thanks.

    Mark Dublin

  3. Is there somewhere I can see old Metro routes/revisions?

    Also who should I email about metro route planning? I have some metro staff on my address book, but I don’t want to disturb them if they’re not the right people to be emailing.

    1. I also would be curious to see these. I was disappointed to see that Metro’s route website is not archived by the Wayback Machine.

    1. Yeah its a pretty bad design all around. Simply Dubai-style architectural gimmicks with its trees sprinkled on the tower.

  4. “How is it faring over ten years later?”

    Given that pumps and recirculation are used to create the illusion of a constantly flowing stream in Seoul (much of the year it’s basically an extremely large fountain), the impact on people who are going to have to live on the planet 100 years from now is probably not good.

    Not to say that the project is a failure, at all.

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