Sejong-daero, once a 12-lane road filled with vehicles, has transformed into “Pedestrian Forest Path” where pedestrians and trees coexist in harmony. The road will be open to the public in January 2021.
As the linear construction of Pedestrian Forest Path on Sejong-daero, which began in July 2020, is completed, the 1.5-km section from Sejong-daero Intersection through Sungnyemun Junction to Seoul Station Junction will be temporarily open to the public starting on January 1, 2021 so that citizens can take strolls down the broadened pedestrian road.
The 12 lanes of Sejong-daero will be reduced to 7 to 9 lanes, and pedestrian roads twice as large as Seoul Plaza will be created along with bicycle lanes throughout the section, making the area truly a “Pedestrian Forest Path” filled with various trees and flowers. A pedestrian road will be created around Sungnyemun Gate, which was like an island on the road, and the pedestrian road will be continuously connected from Gwanghwamun Gate through Sungnyemun Gate to Namsan Mountain and Seoullo 7017. Now, Pedestrian Forest Path on Sejong-daero is expected to become a representative brand of pedestrian roads to embrace culture, history and landscaping, and link commercial areas, economy, and people.
Despite the concerns, the construction of Pedestrian Forest Path on Sejong-daero didn’t lead to traffic congestion; the speed of passing vehicles is the same as before the construction. Although two constructions are underway in the Sejong-daero section—construction of Pedestrian Forest Path on Sejong-daero (from Seoul Station to Sejong-daero Intersection) and the construction of the east road of Gwanghwamun Square (from Sejong-daero Intersection to Gwanghwamun Intersection), the SMG’s comprehensive measures for traffic are fully effective.
Currently, the SMG is monitoring the real-time traffic conditions of commuting hours in the Sejong-daero section. If there occurs traffic congestion during the commuting hours in the section, the city will minimize the traffic inconvenience of the citizens by totally readjusting the operation of traffic lights at junctions of the outskirts of downtown and the influenced areas of the constructions.
Additionally, for the dispersion of traffic of Sejong-daero, the left turn will be allowed at the junction of Sajik-ro and Yulgok-ro. The backstreets around Gwanghwamun Square will be secured as detour, and transportation system management (TSM) will be used to increase the road capacity and disperse the traffic of the square section of Sejong-daero.
As the construction of Pedestrian Forest Path on Sejong-daero is the first example that shows the traffic flow is not severely affected by the sharp decrease of the number of lanes, the SMG will be using the results in the construction of Gwanghwamun Square, smoothly cooperating with citizens and related institutions.
The official opening of Pedestrian Forest Path on Sejong-daero will be in April 2021, when the planting of trees and the construction of pedestrian roads will be completed. When Pedestrian Forest Path is completed, Sejong-daero will be reborn into a road that connects the culture, people, and economy of downtown Seoul. The history and culture of surrounding areas, including Bukchon, Seochon, Gwanghwamun Gate, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchang-dong, Namsan Mountain and Seoullo 7017, will all be connected, and the local areas and commercial zones will be revitalized based on the “triangle commercial belt” that will link Bukchang-dong, Namdaemun Market and Seoul Station.