[EDITORIALS]Pangyo Problems Won't Go Away

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[EDITORIALS]Pangyo Problems Won't Go Away

The blueprint for developing Pangyo is becoming visualized. Although the party-government policy coordination committee still has to approve the plan, the ruling Millennium Democratic Party reportedly agreed with the low-density housing development, hinting that the plan will be executed. The government recently announced the allocation of 3.3 square kilometers of area out of the 9.24 square kilometers of land in Pangyo, Kyonggi province, for residential settlements to house about 20,000 families and high-tech industrial district with 1,000 start-up companies. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation explained that the government would increase the green areas to 24 percent of the land and lower the population density to one third level of the neighboring Bundang in order to develop a low-density residential district.

We never denied the unavoidable necessity to develop Pangyo. The ratio of available housing to total households in the capital region was barely 83 percent in 1999, but the housing demands kept rising, hinting the unavoidable need to build more residences. We also understand the difficulty of selling houses located outside of capital region. The restrictions on construction in Pangyo area will be lifted next year, raising a serious concern about developments without appropriate plans. Violating the rights of private properties for the landowners of Pangyo is also another issue to be resolved.

Yet Pangyo is the entrance to Seoul through Kyongbu Expressway, the main artery of our peninsula. Because development of the area will worsen the already gridlocked traffic in the capital region, we demand that the government first come up with a clear and feasible plan for such an issue. Although the government promised in 1989 that new towns in Bundang and Ilsan would not become bedroom communities, it failed to keep the promise. Despite that several roads connecting Suseo and Pangyo were built, it currently takes nearly two hours to commute to Seoul from Bundang and the roads are paralyzed on weekends. Furthermore, 200,000 people will soon move to Yongin, Suji and Jukjeon areas in Kyonggi province, worsening traffic condition in capital region in the absence of problems related to Pangyo. Consequently, Kyongbu Expressway will fail to serve its function.

Although the Construction Ministry emphasized that it would build and expand roads connecting Pangyo and other areas, it has no plan to fund the project. The government insisted that profits to be raised from developing Pangyo would be enough to cover the road construction expenses, but experts criticized that such a scheme is not feasible. Therefore, the government should come up with a solid measure to support the program financially.

Furthermore, Seoul Metropolitan Government would not accept the ministry's plan because the scheme failed to consider traffic condition inside the capital city. Kyonggi province also criticized that Pangyo would become nothing more than another mere bedroom community unless the government would plan to allocate more lands for high-tech industrial district.

Although the Construction Ministry argued to lead development in Pangyo to prevent unplanned development of the area, what will it do with the large areas near Pangyo? We have already witnessed that Yongin and Suji, neighboring districts of Bundang, suffered from unorganized developments after Bundang settled down. Without appropriate measures, Pangyo will victimize neighboring areas by triggering other unorganized developments.
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