National Geographic : 1979 Dec
the door from the middle of the bus. In the process I lose a coat button and my polished shoes get stamped on and scuffed. When I tell a friend, he grins and says, "It's our daily routine. You get used to it." To handle the traffic, street construction is going on everywhere. Existing roads are being widened, new roads created, a sub way system is being built. Mayor Koo Ja choon describes the problem at his office filled with planning charts: "Seoul uses only 13 percent of its area for roads, compared to more than 20 percent in New York City. Yet Seoul has 170,000 of the nation's 380,000 registered motor vehi cles. By 1985 we expect the city to have one million. With money to spend, more people are thinking of buying their own cars. You see families going for a Sunday drive along the Han River and to nearby scenic spots." A remedy now being considered for the traffic problem includes restricting con struction of high-rise buildings in down town areas and moving certain businesses to the suburbs. The plan also calls for more parking facilities, mandatory car pools dur ing rush hours, and staggered commuting hours for students and business and govern ment workers. The six miles of completed subway line handle only 6 percent of the city traffic. Con struction of the entire 86-mile system is in full swing. Work goes on 24 hours a day to complete it by 1983, two years earlier than planned. Then it should handle 50 percent of the city's traffic.