|At least two of the lanes on Sejong-daero will be made into pedestrain footpaths by the end of next year. / Korea Times file|
By Kim Jae-heun
At least two of the lanes on Sejong-daero and Euljiro, respectively, will be made into pedestrian footpaths, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Wednesday.
According to a blueprint for road reorganization it released, the lanes on the two main streets will be turned into footpaths incorporating bike lanes and parking for a car-sharing service to be launched by the city government.
Two of six traffic lanes will be removed from a 2.5-kilometer stretch of Euljiro between City Hall and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park; while a 1.5-kilometer stretch of the 10- and 12-lane Sejong-daero between Gwanghwamun and Seoul stations will be reduced to six and eight lanes.
The repurposing of the two major roads crossing central Seoul will take place next year.
The sidewalk (footpath) in front of the Daehan Gate of Deoksu Palace will be widened by five meters and a new crosswalk will be put in at its far end to connect to Sungnyemun Gate, which will allow residents to walk non-stop to Mount Nam and Seoullo 7017, an elevated public park near Seoul Station.
The city will also cut one traffic lane on Changgyeonggung-ro and Chungmuro to widen the sidewalks, build bike lanes and parking spots. Crosswalks in 35 locations will be raised slightly to create speed bumps to ensure vehicles slow down.
Work has already begun on a 2.6 kilometer stretch of Toegye-ro to transform two lanes into sidewalks by May 2020. In addition, four rental spots for the city's bike-sharing service will be created alongside three parking spaces for the car-sharing project.
The city government plans to finish an overall pedestrian reconstruction project on 21 main streets in downtown Seoul by 2025. Additionally it will further expand the road repurposing project across the capital to create parks.
"The basic condition of pedestrian walkways in downtown Seoul has been improved to a certain level through various projects we've carried out but there is still more work to be done," said Hwang Bo-yeon, head of the city government's urban transport division.
"We will expand our pedestrian reconstruction project to the whole city to improve the quality of life for Seoul residents."