Da Nang to ban private vehicles from downtown streets

By Nguyen Dong   July 8, 2017 | 03:07 pm GMT+7
Da Nang to ban private vehicles from downtown streets
A traffic jam in Da Nang. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong

The country’s central hub plans to stop licensing new motorbikes altogether from 2028.

Following the steps of Hanoi, Da Nang City will restrict private vehicles from certain streets in downtown areas where public transport can handle local travel demand in a bid to tackle traffic gridlock.

This $6-billion plan approved Friday by lawmakers has yet to say which roads will be freed from private vehicles except for those running along both sides of the Han River in the evenings. 

Under the three phase plan that stretches from now till beyond 2025, new pedestrian-only areas will be opened in the downtown and the city will impose stricter building restrictions to avoid overcrowding.

Specifically, Da Nang won't build new hospitals or schools in the city center or expand existing ones. It will also move warehouses and buildings that usually gather big crowds from the downtown to the outskirts.

In return, the city will operate more public buses to ensure that locals will not have to walk longer than 500 meters to find a bus stop in the downtown.

Yet it will limit the number of newly-licensed vehicles each year and offer incentives to locals to hand over their substandard vehicles.

From 2028, the city hopes to stop issuing licenses to new motorbikes altogether. 

Da Nang, a city of 1.1 million people, has roughly 65,000 cars and about 800,000 motorbikes and scooters.

The explosion of new vehicles is stretching the city's infrastructure, and Da Nang’s population is forecast to reach 2.5 million by 2030, according to a survey by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Banning and limiting private vehicles now seems to be the popular solution to tackle gridlock in Vietnam's big cities.

Earlier this week, Hanoi approved a proposal to ban motorbikes from the city center from 2030 to reduce traffic congestion, despite strong opposition from experts and the public.

The capital city will also impose restrictions on cars, but not a blanket ban. 

Following Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City is also looking at ways to limit the number of private vehicles entering the city center.

The municipal transport department said that they are working on a plan to reduce vehicle numbers in some central areas once its first metro line is up and running.