Once upon a time, it was a road for cars. Now, it’s a road for the people.
This former overpass, which called “Seoullo 7017” because it was first built in 1970, and then repurposed in 2017, is located near the Seoul Station. For 45 years, this route served as a transportation artery of Seoul but by 2006 it had serious safety issues and vehicles were prohibited from using it.
However, instead of tearing it down, in 2015 the city embarked on a unique project to turn it into a park and pathway for the community.
It was opened to the public on April 2017.
Now, pedestrians can walk on this former overpass, which is 17m above the busy city road, to some of Seoul’s popular attractions such as Sungnyemun Gate, Hanyang City Walk and Namdaemun Market while enjoying the 228 species of plants, foot baths, sitting alcoves, cafes, observation towers, ponds and trampolines that dot this route.
I had the chance to visit this fantastic place, and I wished Malaysia had something like this. But I know Malaysians - they’d complain bitterly about having to walk in the hot sun, and a part of me almost agrees except for the fact that there I was in the height of summer in Seoul, and I still see people walking around Seoullo 7017 without complaint.
Perhaps Malaysians just need to rethink our aversion to use our legs as a form of transport. I, for one, love walking everywhere - I don’t think much about walking 1-2km, but apparently I’m a rather rare creature.
Let’s hope that we’ll see structures and places like these in Malaysia one day :)
Find out more about Seoullo 7017 at http://seoullo7017.seoul.go.kr/