New Lotte site concerns still lingerThe Seoul Metropolitan Council expressed its concerns over safety and traffic plans for the early opening of the three low-rise buildings in Lotte World Mall, better known as the second Lotte World, that have continued to raise questions.
The council’s City Planning and Management Committee, which conducted its own independent inspection of the complex, said on Saturday that an early opening of the site will only exacerbate traffic congestion in the area because the traffic infrastructure in the region is insufficient.
It added that the traffic plans suggested by Lotte Corporation, which is in charge of building the complex, would do little to alleviate worsening congestion.
The Jamsil area in southeastern Seoul, where Lotte World Mall is located, is notorious for being one of the most congested areas in the capital city.
The city government plans to widen the road next to the Tan Stream near the complex, and the Lotte Corporation has already paid 45 billion won ($43.5 million) for the project. But the committee pointed out the road expansion isn’t expected to help ease traffic concerns ahead of the early opening, as the city hasn’t even begun construction.
The city also plans to build a 371-meter (406-yard) underground bus transfer center along Songpa-daero, the boulevard that runs between the first and second Lotte Worlds to the south, in order to reduce congestion caused by buses. However, its construction isn’t expected to be completed until September 2016.
The committee added that Lotte Corporation also agreed to build an underpass under Olympic-daero, nearly a kilometer from the complex, to connect two smaller roads, though it is uncertain when construction will commence.
The committee also questioned the subsidence underneath the complex’s 123-story Lotte World Tower and the reduction in water levels in the neighboring Seokchon Lake, and stressed that the Seoul government should avoid approving an early opening based solely on public opinion.
“The early opening of the second Lotte World should reflect the convenience and safety concerns of the public, not [Lotte Corporation],” said Kim Mi-gyeong, the head of the committee. “Regulations regarding skyscrapers should be made as well because traffic, safety and disaster control systems for skyscrapers are different from those of other structures.”
BY KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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