HCMC plans to open more downtown walking streets

Ho Chi Minh City is considering a proposal to turn five downtown streets into walking zones to better accommodate residents and tourists.

Vietnam, Nguyen Hue, HCMC, pedestrian zones, walking streets, entertainment services

Dong Khoi, Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Thai Van Lung and Thi Sach, near the popular walking street Nguyen Hue and just a few kilometers from landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, were proposed as potential weekend walking streets.

Under the proposal, vehicles would be banned from Dong Khoi Street during weekends similar to Nguyen Hue pedestrian street that blocks traffic from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

An official survey revealed widespread support for the plan, though residents, tourists and experts alike opposed a similar zone in District 1 along with 24/7 equivalents on Nguyen Hue, Dong Khoi, etc.

In addition to opening more walking streets, city authorities are considering redesigning the expanded walking zone into bespoke areas, to create culture, shopping and international cuisine areas.

Ben Thanh Market would form an important commercial and tourist draw with diverse services and cuisine.

All pedestrian zones would be covered by free WiFi and equipped with sign boards providing information for residents and foreign tourists, along with more parking lots.

The proposals are part of a plan drawn up by the HCMC Center for Management of Road Traffic Infrastructure to build more downtown pedestrian streets during the 2021-2025 period.

The city's transport department is collecting feedback from related agencies to complete the plan before submission to the city government.

HCMC, which received 10 million foreign arrivals last year, has two pedestrian zones, Nguyen Hue opened in 2015 and Bui Vien in 2017. Both get particularly crowded during the weekends and holidays.

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