Extension of Gwanghwamun Square

Seoul puts a lot of effort to become a more human-centered and pedestrian-friendly city. It is a difficult and challenging process. In March, Seoul announced that they want to close the western side of the Sejong-ro in order to extend the Gwanghwamun Plaza. It means that 550 meters of street (six lanes) are going to be closed permanently for traffic. The south-bond direction on the Sejong-ro will be transformed to a public space. The project is expected to be completed until 2017 and it will cost around 62 billion KRW. Details for the design aren’t yet published. The budget isn’t secured yet as well. Seoul asked the national government to financially support the project but they got rejected.

The right (=eastern) street at the square will be divided into three lanes for north-bound traffic and two lanes for traffic to the southern direction. Only buses (with a capacity of more than 16 people) will be allowed on that street. So not only one side of the street will be closed, the other side will be reshuffled and closed for private cars at all.

This development begun with the first trial in September 2012 and then again in November 2012, followed by a regular car-free Sunday once a month in 2013, then twice a month in 2014 and 2015. During the beginning citizens were animated to propose ideas and I also came up with a humble proposal. I believe that the quality of Gwanghwamun Square will improve immensely. Now visitors are surrounded by car lanes on each side. I hope that they will expand the green space, put up some trees and also improve the pedestrian crossing from the square to the royal palace.

Source: Chosun Ilbo | YTN News

About This Author

Co-Author of Kojects. Interested in Sustainable Transportation, Urbanism and Korea.

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  • Frankly, if its going to become essentially a pedestrian mall like Yonsei-ro anyway, I think they’d be better off closing half the lanes on both sides, maintaining the symmetry. Else one of the few iconic and aesthetically pleasing views of metropolitan Seoul risks being lost. Regardless, I welcome any move to get private cars out of the CBD and make things more pedestrian friendly.

    Anon 2 years ago Reply


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