Infographic on the pedestrian-friendly city of Seoul
Today we announced an important policy that we have been preparing for a long time. It was our second Seoul vision announcement following the “Ten Rules for Pedestrian Blocks.” With today’s announcement, I dare to declare that Seoul is on its ways to becoming a pedestrian-friendly city.
The core of this policy consists in implementing a vehicle-free, pedestrian-only road. Parts of Sejong-ro will be blocked off for exclusive use by pedestrians every third Sunday of the month staring in March this year. The scheme will be extended to Gangnamdaero and Itaewon-ro, and speed restrictions around residential areas will be lowered. Green pedestrian lights will stay on longer and more crosswalks will be built. The vision of “Seoul, a Pedestrian-friendly City” has been organized in clusters of ten under four general themes – pleasantness, safety, convenience, and storytelling.
Under the new vision, five designated pedestrian-friendly areas will be installed with more crosswalks and other safety facilities and equipment. The designated areas include Yonsei-ro, the first public transportation-only zone, Seongbukdong-gil, a history and culture exploration zone, Gangbyeon-ro, which has a high volume of pedestrian traffic, Yeongjung-ro, and Daehak-ro. Roads that are about 10 meters wide, have a large amount of pedestrian traffic, and are near residential areas will be transformed into pedestrian-priority roads under what is the first scheme of its kind in Korea. The pedestrian roads will be expanded and installed with signs indicating priority to pedestrians, and the speed limit will be reduced to 30km per hour.
Furthermore, traffic safety pavement markings, closed-circuit cameras, and traffic control during school commuting hours will all be implemented to enhance children’s safety. In 2014, seven roads in the Eunpyeong, Dongdaemun, Nowon, Seongbuk, and Guro districts will be marked “Children’s zone” and tested as child-priority roads.
By next year, large crossroads in Gwanghwamun, Anguk-dong, Heunginjimun, and in front of the City Hall will all have a pedestrian crossing. More will be constructed around underground crossings and pedestrian overpasses. 2,678 escalators and elevators will be built in subway stations by 2014. 400 bus stops will be equipped with ‘vocal guides’ for the visually impaired. And, in accordance with the plan to have old Seoul registered by UNESCO, three promenades that connect old palaces, shopping districts, and various historic and cultural spots will be developed in 2015.
Walking is a healthy, eco-friendly activity that also boosts local businesses. I have been envious of the pedestrian streets in world-famous cities for a long time. Now, Seoul has some pedestrian roads of its own. A human-centered Seoul, a pedestrian-friendly Seoul – we have just laid the first milestone.