Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seoul-Namyangju? Check. East Gyeonggi? Still To Be Defined

Now with the full support of Seoul, Namyangju, and the Ministry of Transport, the extension of Subway Line 4 from Danggogae Station (Sanggye-dong, Nowon-gu, Seoul) to Jinjeop Station (Jinjeop-myeon, Namyangju) shall be, as expected, delivered by 2019.

Pre-feasibility studies confirmed a project we already detailed earlier, most recently last year*:
"In a diagonal parallel to the Gyeongcheon Line (railway for Chuncheon), the 14.5 km extension from Danggogae will create three stations in the city of Namyangju: Byeollae (Byeollae-dong), Onam (Onam-eup), and Jinjeop (Jinjeop-eup). All three correspond to new towns, not to mention (see reminder) today's terminal itself, Danggogae Station, at the center of the future Sanggye New Town. I bet many inhabitants may feel more like in an extension of Nowon-gu than in a new Namyangju neighborhood: there's no direct railway connection to Namyangju city hall in Geumgok-dong, and Nowon Station with its city hall and attractions is just 1 to 4 stations away.

Sanggye, Danggogae, and Byeollae all lie along Deongneung-ro, an axis already very congested by traffic jams. The only road cutting through Buramsam (in its middle) became an important entry point into northeastern Seoul when the Seoul Ring Expressway was completed: located halfway between Uijeongbu I.C. and Guri I.C., Byeollae I.C. instantly relieved the saturated Toegyewon I.C. gateway. But the road was not dimensioned for that traffic, and turned into a bottleneck."
I positioned Danggogae, Byeollae, Onam, and Jinjeop on Seoul Village map, and as you can see, a stop in  Jinjeop-eup could be added (maybe near Naegok-ri,, between Byeollae and Onam):

View Seoul Village in a larger map

If you zoom out from there, you see how this Eastern New Town Line takes the Wangsukcheon valley towards Pocheon, not the greatest 'pull' to prolong it even further.

But again, the way new towns have been decided across the capital region never followed any grand, long term vision combining from the start urban development with transit solutions. For instance, it would have been so easy to plan an arch from Uijeongbu to Hanam via Namyangju and Guri, in order to build a strong vertical backbone for eastern Gyeonggi-do, and instead of weak horizontal fishbones sticking out from the capital, a sounder dialog with Seoul.
Note that this Eastern New Town Line, that has been on the map for ages, was not even mentioned in Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Master Plan. Now you know why I preferred the previous 'big picture' I added in my focus, where such hubs as Nowon-Sanggye appear more clearly (see "If you ain't broke, fix it: Seoul, Welfare and railways deficits").

Seoul Village 2013
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* see "Spectacular extensions of Seoul Subway Lines 4-5-6-7 ?" (April 2010), followed by "Seoul subway updates : gos, no-gos, maybes" (January 2011) and "Nowon confirmed as Seoul's northeast hub" (October 2012)

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