There are now many calls for improving the pedestrianization of the poor mountain corridors that contain the history of Busan, the former Piran capital. Narrow and steep staircases are the identity of the mountain corridor, but the excessively difficult to walk on has been demanding sacrifices from residents for a long time and does not fit with the policy of ‘Busan as a walkable city,’ so it is time to explore alternatives.
In front of the 146 stairs of Jeungsan-ro, not far from Jwacheon Station on Busan’s Dong-gu Subway Line 1, on the afternoon of the 22nd. The top end of the stairs seen from the bottom is impossibly high. It takes most adults about two to three minutes to climb all 146 steps. For the elderly, it can take several times longer.
It’s not just a matter of having a lot of stairs. Many of the steps are less than 30 centimeters wide. The corroded ones were barely 20 centimeters wide. An adult woman can barely take a step, and it’s easy to lose your footing. It also happened to be raining that day. I saw an adult man walking down the stairs with an umbrella in one hand and an elderly woman in the other, looking very vulnerable. There are many elderly people in the area, and they have been persevering up the precarious path for decades.
The 146 staircases along Jeungsan-ro are the target of Dong-gu Office’s staircase maintenance project this year. However, it is a small-scale project, costing 750,000 won, and only involves filling in some of the cracks with cement. Moreover, there are many inconvenient and dangerous paths like the 146 stairs spread throughout the mountain corridor, but the current situation is not even properly understood. Most local governments only partially maintain the stairs when necessary, so the stigma of ‘mountain corridor that is difficult to walk’ is bound to continue. An official from Dong-gu Office said, “The staircase maintenance project is the one that most directly shows the satisfaction of residents, but it is the most difficult area to receive national and municipal support.” “If it is pushed aside from other projects in priority, we may not be able to secure a budget and continue the project.”
The monorail project, which was introduced to secure transportation rights in mountain corridors, ended in failure. The Dong-gu Office is currently considering removing the monorail, which has 168 steps, and installing an inclined elevator.
When it began operation in May 2016, the monorail was expected to serve as a tourism product while helping local residents move around. However, the monorail broke down frequently, including four times in 2020, six times in 2021, and four times in 2022, and on March 11, the monorail was deemed unfit for operation by the Korea Transportation Safety Authority and was effectively demolished. The Dong-gu Office is considering replacing the monorail with an inclined elevator. Currently, there are two inclined elevators operating in the mountain corridor.
Experts are emphasizing a systematic approach to improving the walking environment and securing the right of movement along the mountain corridor. Improving the pedestrian environment is directly related to the lives of residents as it is an area where vehicle movement is limited토토사이트, but indiscriminate maintenance projects can diminish the charm of the historic mountain corridor.
Dr. Lee Won-kyu of the Busan Development Research Institute said, “The existing local government budget is clearly limited, so we need to secure external funding.”