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Movable median bus stops to debut in Seoul’s Jongno

Posted March. 15, 2017 07:09,   

Updated March. 15, 2017 07:16

Movable median bus stops will be installed in Jongno, Seoul. Ten bus stops will be put in place at a new 2.8-kilometer median bus-only lane section extending from Sejongdaero Sageori (intersection) to Heunginjimun gate in Jongno District.

The conventional bus stops were built as a fixed platform with elevated asphalt and structure. Once built, the bus stops cannot be relocated or disassembled. However, the mobile bus stops that the Seoul metropolitan city is to install by year’s end will be installed by assembling five to six blocks. When there is a parade on the entire street for an international event or cultural event, the mobile platforms can be removed by a folk lift to roadsides. The edge of different parts of the blocs can be assembled with bolts and nuts, which will save time for assembling and disassembling.

The Seoul metropolitan government decided to create mobile bus stops due to Yeondeunghoi, or the Lotus Lantern Festival, which is the largest Buddhist event in Korea.

The city government, which aims to create streets convenient for walking, will introduce the median bus-only lanes as part of efforts to revive Jongno District, which has lost vitality as city center. However, the Jogyesa Buddhist temple, which hosts the annual Yeondeunghoi, National Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 122, expressed opposition.

The Yeondeung parade departs from Dongdaemun Design Plaza, turns around at Heunginjimun and heads to Jongno Jonggak, before making a right turn towards Jogyesa on Ujeongguk-ro on May 7 and 8 every year, around the time of Buddha’s Birthday. Jogyesa told the city government that if median bus stops are installed, the parade has to proceed with the participants having to use both sides of the median and median bus stops, which poses safety concern. The Cultural Heritage Administration and the Buddhist community are seeking to register Yeondeunghoi as UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage.

The city government has accepted the concern and decided to install mobile bus stop platforms to be able to remove them during the Yeondeunghoi parade, before reassembling them immediately after the event.

Jie-Hyun Roh isityou@donga.com