Sunday, April 23, 2006

Magok the Ghost Station

I wrote a while back about how Koreans poured so much more money into public transportation than Americans. Here's another example.

Go out to the vicinity of Balsan station in Gangseo-gu, and you see that beyond the intersection that they build Balsan station under, the city just stops. On one side of the road, there are shops, restaurants, neon signs. On the other side, nothing but wasteland. Way on the other side of the wasteland, the city starts up again - that's the neighborhood of Gimpo airport.

It's just as if Seoul is a SimCity city. The Seoul city govermnet has not clicked on the zoning button and dragged the mouse across that expanse of land yet. And it has been like that at least since January 2003.

There's more. Look at a Seoul subway map, at the western end of line 5, and you see that the station beyond Balsan is empty. The map probably shows a station, but there's no name. That's Magok station. It's finished. It's ready. Take the subway west from Balsan and the train passes through it. It's empty. It's been empty for at least 3 years. If you drive through the wasteland expanse you see a finished subway station along the road. But there are no buildings beside it. It is so creepy.

Evidently this station will come to life when the area around it gets filled in with buildings. I cannot imagine the Washington DC Metro doing anything remotely like this.

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