Seoul Station Plaza, an emblematic landmark and gateway to Seoul, is to undergo a much-needed refurbishment. This comes as a relief to the locals who have been bearing the brunt of the incessant noise from religious evangelists and the public nuisance caused by inebriated homeless individuals.

On March 8, the Seoul Metropolitan Council approved a bill, ‘Support Ordinance for Creating a Healthy Use Environment in Seoul Station Plaza’, championed by Councilman Park Young-han. The bill mandates the Mayor to initiate pertinent projects and strive for establishing a wholesome environment at the plaza.

Consequently, Seoul Station Plaza will soon see the advent of a non-smoking and non-drinking culture. The ordinance also paves the way for support towards housing, protection, and welfare services for the homeless. In a bid to ensure a safe plaza, Seoul City will convene regular meetings with key stakeholders including the central government, Korail, local police stations, and related agencies.

▲ Councilman Park Young-han of Seoul Metropolitan Council / Photo provided by Seoul Metropolitan Council"
▲ Councilman Park Young-han of Seoul Metropolitan Council / Photo provided by Seoul Metropolitan Council”

Councilman Park Young-han stated, “Seoul Station is a bustling transportation hub in Seoul, catering to approximately 600,000 people daily,” further adding that, “The persistent issues of noise pollution from religious evangelism and disruptions caused by the homeless have been a continual source of inconvenience.” He also expressed concerns over potential violent incidents involving alcohol addicts and mentally ill persons.

Interestingly, this is the first time a refurbishment bill for Seoul Station Plaza has been proposed in the council. The plaza has always been a challenge to manage due to the division of right holders and administrators.

For instance, while the Korea Railroad Corporation owns the plot of Seoul Station Plaza, the surface rights lie with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport. The plaza in front of Culture Station 284, the historical Seoul Station building, is owned by the Cultural Heritage Administration.

The Seoul Metropolitan Council’s Administrative Autonomy Committee member highlighted the need for comprehensive discussions, including prior consultation with related agencies, given the issues with rights holders and the necessity for administrative cooperation with other agencies. “With the introduction of the railway station plaza support bill, we now have a concrete foundation to address the longstanding complaints around Seoul Station,” the member concluded.