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Mayor Park Won Soon, who is currently touring the United States, visited High Line Park in New York and had a meeting with the press, where he revealed his plan to turn the elevated road near Seoul Station into a “people-centered” green walkway for the citizens of Seoul. This project is one of the key urban renewal projects put forth by the mayor, who is serving in the sixth term of the mayor of Seoul, elected by popular vote.
High Line is a 2.5km-long linear park built 9m above the ground, which was successfully transformed into a greenway from its former state as an elevated railroad, similar to the elevated road near Seoul Station, located 17m above the ground (10.3m wide and 938m long).
High Line was the first American park to use a section of an abandoned railroad to create an ecological space. As part of a resident-led urban renewal project, it became a landmark in New York City after the first phase (Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street) was completed in 2009. The second phase, which runs from West 20th Street to West 30th Street, was completed in 2011, and the final phase, extending to West 34th Street, will be completed this year.
“The elevated road near Seoul Station is a legacy of Korea’s period of industrialization and holds significance and historical value beyond its existence as a piece of urban infrastructure,” said Mayor Park Won Soon. “Therefore, instead of tearing it down, we decided to preserve it in its current state and return it to our citizens as a “people-centered” space that is safe, convenient, and beautiful. We will work to transform it into a linear greenway that surpasses New York’s High Line Park, which turned a stretch of abandoned railroad into a vibrant landmark of the city.”
He also added, “We believe the coming together of cultural assets and cultural facilities through the renewal of the elevated road near Seoul Station and its transformation into a city landmark will revive the local economy, including the sluggish Namdaemun Market.”
The elevated road near Seoul Station has slowly deteriorated throughout its 44-year history. As a result, it was scheduled to be torn down at the end of this year, but a decision was made regarding its renewal, due to its historical significance and future potential. Completed in 1970, when the population of Seoul began to increase dramatically, the elevated road connected the public roads with the railway system. It became a symbol of modernity that supported part of Seoul’s development, and was the first structure that people coming from different regions in Korea saw when they arrived in Seoul. At the same time, its location is significant, as it lies near Seoul Station Plaza, which has been witness to many historical events that have taken place in the city.
An open view of Seoul can be seen from the elevated road, which is about the same height as the fourth floor of a building. It is also a place that connects people from all over Korea through the KTX high-speed train, and a number of historical cultural heritage sites, such as Seoul City Walls, Sungnyemun, Namsan Park, Namdaemun Market, and Old Seoul Station, are located nearby. The Seoul Metropolitan Government believes that the elevated road can be developed into a tourist attraction and a greenway where people can rest and enjoy taking a walk.
♣ 60 Policy Pledges of the Mayor, Serving in the Sixth Term of the Popularly-Elected Mayor of Seoul: Hospitable Development! Hospitable City!
→A New Landmark in Seoul! High Line Park on the Elevated Road near Seoul Station
♣ View of High Line
♣ Aerial Map of the Elevated Road near Seoul Station