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  • 1.9km-long pedestrian roads near Changdeokgung Palace to be completed

  • Press Releases SMG 188
    • Four streets stretching from the Changdeokgung Palace to the Nakwon Arcade and the Jongmyo Shrine are transformed into pleasant 1.9km-long pedestrian walkways
    • The width of the roadways was reduced, and that of the walkways was doubled to create a public square where various historical and cultural events can take place
    • The streets next to the Jongmyo Shrine become stone-covered walkways that go well with the Jongmyo Shrine’s stone wall
    • Seoul expects that this area will become a vibrant place that combines history and culture in the heart of the city while continuing to attract citizens and revitalize the surrounding businesses

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 2, 2020 – Four streets stretching from the Changdeokgung Palace to the Nakwon Musical Instrument Arcade (Nakwon Arcade) and the Jongmyo Shrine are transformed into pleasant 1.9km-long pedestrian walkways.

    They are places where trace the 600-year history of Seoul from the Joseon Dynasty. However, the narrow, outdated, and neglected streets had been disconnected for decades from the surrounding areas by roads and buildings.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it completed the two-year construction to connect the pedestrian walkways near the Changdeokgung Palace by the end of November.

    The construction is part of the city’s urban regeneration initiative for nearby areas of the Changdeokgung Palace. It is also part of the construction that changes the “Green Transport Zone” in the city’s historic center enclosed by the old city walls into an area where walkers, bicycles, and public transportation are centered.

    This area is where many historical and cultural assets are located so that citizens can enjoy the city center’s attraction and its historic tastes at the same time. They include the UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Changdeokgung Palace, the Jongmyo Shrine, and the Unhyeon Palace, as well as Donhwamun-ro, so-called the “King’s Road” during the Joseon Dynasty, and the 50-year-old Nakwon Arcade.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government designated the area as an “urban regeneration revitalization zone” in 2015 and began the improvement work in 2016. The construction was focused on transforming it into a pedestrian-friendly place while preserving the value of rich historical and cultural assets.

    Along with this Changdeokgung Palace area, when the 2.6 km-long Toegye-ro and Sejong-daero’s “Pedestrian Forest Path” are completed at the end of this month and in early next year, respectively, downtown Seoul is expected to become a “walkable paradise” where people can enjoy history and culture, as well as tastes and beauty of Seoul at once.

    The four streets to be opened this time are “Donhwamun-ro,” “Seosulla-gil,” “Samil-daero,” and “Donhwamun 10-gil.”

    First one is “Donhwamun-ro” stretching from “Donhwamun,” the main gate of the Changdeokgung Palace, to Jongno. This street was the main road for the Kings of the Joseon Dynasty. It is also the starting place for the annual reenactment event of the King Jeongjo’s Royal Parade. Taking advantage of these historical characteristics, the 150-meter section from Changdeokgung Samgeori in front of the Donhwamun was improved as a public square with no difference in height between the roadway and the sidewalk, allowing various historical and cultural events to be held. The width of the roadway was reduced by up to 3 meters to 7 meters, while that of the walkway being expanded by up to 6.5 meters.

    Second, “Seosulla-gil” surrounding the Jongmyo Shrine retains the form of a historic old road, however this street was inconvenient to walk because it was disconnected and had illegal parking cars and unidentified accumulations. The city government doubled the width of the sidewalk from 1.5 meters to 3 meters by drastically reducing that of roadways. It also created a stone-covered walkway to change it into a path that goes well with the Jongmyo Shrine’s stone wall. In addition, the 500 square-meter pedestrian plaza is created for holding various events and operating a “car-free street” over the weekend.

    Third, the walking environment on “Samil-daero” near the Nakwon Arcade has been improved so that citizens visiting Insa-dong and Jongmyo can use it more comfortably. Lighting has been installed in the lower dark space of the Nakwon Arcade. The “Seoul Community Cultural Center Nakwon” that opened on October 27 in the piloti space of the Arcade is expected to drive the influx of floating population and regional revitalization.

    Lastly, “Donhwamun 10-gil” is the street that connects east and west from the Nakwon Arcade to Donhwamun-ro and Seosulla-gil. In order to maximize pedestrian connectivity between the streets of this area, the width of the roadways was reduced, and the width of the sidewalks was doubled to five meters from the previous 2.5 meters.

    Ryu Hoon, Deputy Mayor for Urban Regeneration at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “We have improved the narrow and uncomfortable streets in front of the Changdeokgung Palace and created pedestrian-centered walkable streets. By doing it we achieved two aims at once – “urban regeneration” in the Changdeokgung Palace area and “road space reorganization” in the city center enclosed by the old city walls.” He added, “We expect that this area will become a vibrant place that combines history and culture in the heart of the city, while continuing to attract citizens and revitalize the surrounding businesses.”