Hanoi plans parking restrictions to ease congestion

September 30, 2016 | 09:22 am GMT+7
Hanoi plans parking restrictions to ease congestion
There are reportedly over 5 million motorbikes and scooters on the streets of Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Private vehicles may be allowed to park only on one side of the road, depending on whether it's an odd or even day.

Hanoi may soon take a drastic measure to combat worsening congestion: limiting cars and motorbikes to parking only on one side of the road.

On the even days vehicles can only park on the even numbered side of the road and the same logic goes for odd days. 

The city’s top leader Hoang Trung Hai announced the plan to introduce the restriction on Wednesday.

This way, the city hopes there will be more space on the roads, some of which have been narrowed by vehicles parked on both sides of the road, effectively easing traffic.

Earlier this month Hanoi's transport authorities unveiled a controversial three-step plan aimed at removing all motorbikes from the city, initially from the core downtown areas during peak hours, and later from suburban streets.

The idea of imposing a ban on private vehicles, unsurprisingly, has been met with fierce opposition.

Opponents said the ban would not work considering limited public transport in the city, which would not be able to meet travel demands if drivers are forced to leave their motorbikes at home.

Besides, most people in Hanoi have a motorbike to travel through the narrow streets and alleys, and it will be difficult to convince people to ditch their motorbikes and hop on buses, currently the only form of public transport.

In response, Hai said it’s time Hanoians gave up their love affair with private vehicles, but added that any restrictions would only be applied when a broad consensus has been reached.

He pointed out that the city’s urban rail services will not be ready before 2020. In the meantime, imposing a restriction on private vehicles would be a last resort, he said.

“If we don’t take action soon, traffic congestion will get out of control,” said Hai, adding that it would badly affect the economy and society.

Motorbikes account for more than 90 percent of all traffic in Hanoi, which has a population of about 10 million.

Currently there are roughly 5 million motorbikes and scooters on Hanoi’s roads, and the number of new vehicles rises 7 percent a year, putting mounting pressure on the city’s infrastructure.

Statistics show 19,000 new vehicles are registered in Hanoi each month. It is estimated that by 2025, there will be more than 7.3 million motorbikes and 1.3 million cars on the city's roads.

Related news:

Hanoi hits speed bump on road to motorbike-free city

Hanoi residents kick out at new pedestrian zone

Minor accident causes severe traffic jam in Hanoi

>Choking streets force Hanoi to mull ban on more vehicles from city center