Seoul City made a proposal to convert the roads around Gwanghwamun Plaza into underground roads and turn the rest of the area into a pedestrian zone.
The proposal is drawing attention because the restructuring of Gwanghwamun Plaza is connected to the opening of the Blue House, which is one of President Moon Jae-in’s campaign pledges.
Park Su-ju has more.
Since last September, the Gwanghwamun Forum, which is composed of around 40 experts in various fields, began discussing plans and gathering opinions for improving Gwanghwamun Plaza.
They have made a proposal to Seoul City and the central government to move the roads around the plaza underground, while making the entire remaining space a pedestrian-only area.
<Kim Won / Head of Gwanghwamun Forum Committee> “We are hoping to make a lively plaza that displays the long history of Gwanghwamun Plaza and can also be a place for the free activities of citizens.”
It is a combination and supplementation of previous proposals by the Cultural Heritage Administration and proposes to convert the four-lane one-way Sejong-ro on both sides of the plaza into an underground six-lane street, while changing Yulgok-ro in front of Gwanghwamun into an underground road as well.
The forum explained that this will make the restoration of the Woldae and relocation of the Haetae sculpture possible. It will thus make the historical restoration of Gwanghwamun possible while maintaining the public transportation system without cutting off the plaza.
They saw the restoration of Woldae, the area connecting the inner and outer parts of the palace, to be essential for historical restoration.
<Jeon Woo-yong / Professor at the Institute for East-Asian Cultural Studies at Hanyang University> “It is an area that symbolized communication and gathering in the dynasty eras, but it all disappeared. Restoration of the Woldae is incredibly important for recovering the historical, philosophical and symbolic meaning of Gwanghwamun Plaza…”
Seoul City plans to review this proposal along with various alternatives and make plans for improvement by the end of the year.
Park Su-ju reporting for Yonhap News TV.
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