Heart of Hanoi proposes limiting pedestrian zone to weekend evenings only during summer

By Vo Hai   July 20, 2017 | 10:52 am GMT+7

Although the zone has been a big hit among tourists, they tend to shy away from the daytime heat during summer.

Hoan Kiem District in Hanoi wants to make a pedestrian zone it has been piloting for 10 months around Hoan Kiem Lake a permenant fixture.

A recent report also suggested expanding the zone to include more streets, but limiting it to only weekend evenings during summer.

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Vehicles would be allowed back around Hoan Kiem lake during the daytime on weekends if the proposal is approved. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

The city's pedestrian zone is currently closed to traffic from 7 p.m. on Friday through to midnight on Sunday. This schedule seems to be suitable for spring, autumn and winter, but not during the summer. 

The report said that very few tourists visit the pedestrian zone during the day due to hot weather or storms. As a result, the district has proposed limiting it to only weekend evenings during the summer.

If the proposal is approved the area around Hoan Kiem Lake will be pedestrian-only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. the next day between April 30 and August 31.

Hoan Kiem District has also proposed connecting the pedestrian zone with walking streets in the Old Quarter. The proposed expansion would see the inclusion of Dinh Liet Street and a section of Cau Go Street.

Streets in the southern part of the Old Quarter such as Cau Go, Gia Ngu and Hang Bac would also become walking streets on weekend evenings under the new proposal.

The pedestrian zone went into effect around Hoan Kiem Lake on September 1 last year as a pilot program proposed by the city's People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung.

While some residents in the area were originally opposed to the plan, claiming it would hurt their businesses, the pedestrian zone has been a hit among tourists.

The zone currently welcomes an average of 3,000-5,000 visitors during the day and 15,000-20,000 in the evening, according to official data.

The district has also reported an additional 268 businesses catering for tourists in the area.