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Urban Planning News

  • Seoul Creates Downtown “Pedestrian Forest Path”

  • Category Title SMG 0

    Creation of Dynamic “Pedestrian Forest Path” with Culture and Greenery
    Starting on July 22, Seoul will be reorganizing the 1.5-kilometer road in the center of Seoul from Sejong-daero intersection through Sungnyemun junction to Seoul Station junction.

    Through the Road Reorganization Project, the number or width of the lanes of major roads within four major gates of Seoul will be decreased to create pedestrian safety facilities, convenience facilities, and spaces for green transportation, such as the bicycle, and shared transportation, transforming the car-centered traffic environment into human-centered one.

    Seoul decided to name the Sejong-daero pedestrian road “Pedestrian Forest Path” (working title) as the city has the goal to make itself an “ecological civilization city” with rich greenery, transforming its downtown from the car-centered structure into human-centered one.

    Air view of space reorganization of the section from City Hall to Sungnyemun Gate
    Air view of space reorganization of the section from City Hall to Sungnyemun Gate

    Seoul has plans to connect representative attractions along Sejong-daero, such as Gwanghwamun Square, Deoksugung Palace, Sungnyemun Gate, and Seoullo 7017, through the Sejong-daero space reorganization project. By combining their history and landscape, Sejong-daero will turn into a pedestrian path symbolic of the “Walking City, Seoul” policy.

    The space that will be secured by the downscaling of the lanes of the road will turn into the space for green transportation, such as the bicycle and walk. Various elements of design will be introduced at major points and pedestrian facilities will be installed for creating elegant pedestrian space that befits the symbolic status of Sejong-daero.

    Specifically, the idea of a roadside forest will be introduced by planting 19 kinds of trees, including fringe trees, zelkovas, and Japanese maples. A green zone with multi-layer planting of about 3,328㎡ will also be constructed, where different heights of shrubs and flowering plants will be harmonized.

    Preparation for the construction from July 22, full-scale traffic control starting on the night of July 31
    The actual traffic control will be conducted starting on the night of July 31, when the traffic volume will be decreased during the vacation season. In order to minimize the confusion among citizens, the Variable Message Signs (VMS) and Bus Information Terminals (BIT) throughout the city were used to notify the information on the construction since the beginning of June.

    Banners were installed at 722 streetlamps of major roundabout routes, not only Sejong-daero but Tongil-ro and Namdaemun-ro, to notify the construction, and placards were installed at 29 major junctions.

    Starting on July 22, traffic guide signs will be installed at each section of construction and the information of the construction will be marked on major navigation maps, including Kakao and T Map. The real-time traffic conditions will be broadcasted through the radio traffic report to minimize the inconvenience of drivers.

    To minimize the discomfort of citizens that will be caused by the construction, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency will divide the target area into two sections and conduct the construction at the same time to shorten the period of construction. During the commuting hours (6-9 a.m. & 5-10 p.m.), the construction will be halted to prevent the possible congestion and traffic accidents.

    Additionally, the concentration of traffic volume to Sejong-daero will be eased by controlling the traffic light operation system according to each stage of construction. The traffic light operation system will be classified into three steps, which will be flexibly applied considering the traffic conditions.

    View of Seoul Square after Sejong-daero Pedestrian Forest Path Project
    View of Seoul Square after Sejong-daero Pedestrian Forest Path Project
    View of the pedestrian path beside Deoksugung Palace after Sejong-daero Pedestrian Forest Path Project
    View of the pedestrian path beside Deoksugung Palace after Sejong-daero Pedestrian Forest Path Project

    The city will thoroughly take traffic control by placing exemplary drivers and traffic police officers at major junctions including that in front of The Plaza Hotel, Sungnyemun junction, and Seoul Station junction, to prevent vehicles from entering the junction when the traffic light turns yellow and improve the bottleneck phenomena, as well as reinforcing the parking enforcement system at roundabout routes.

    Besides, the city will establish an effective cooperative system to share analysis data on the process of the construction and the traffic jam to address citizens’ inconvenience, collaborating not only with the institutions that are involved in the construction but police stations in the district, district offices, traffic broadcasting system, and navigation companies to provide real-time traffic information.