Hanoi considers expanding pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake

By Bui Hong Nhung   September 21, 2016 | 10:48 pm PT
Hanoi considers expanding pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake
People pour into Hanoi's walking street. Photo by the Vietnam News Agency
Nine adjacent streets may be added to the 16-street walking area.

Hoan Kiem District authorities hope to expand Hanoi’s pedestrian walking zone around the storied "Sword Lake" by blocking vehicle traffic to a total of 24 streets, Vietnam News Agency reported yesterday.

District authorities have already submitted the plan to the municipal People’s Committee for approval. If passed, the city's tourists and residents will enjoy the additional walking space as early as the beginning of October.

Officials in Hoan Kiem District said that the expansion will preserve and promote the cultural and historical value in Hanoi’s Old Quarter by gradually reducing the number of private vehicles.

They have also stated that the additional space will promote exercise activities, like jogging.

While the current pedestrian zone closes off vehicle traffic from 7 p.m. on Friday through to midnight on Sunday, the additional nine streets are proposed to only be vehicle free in the evenings, 7 p.m. to midnight, Friday to Sunday. During the winter months, the additional pedestrian zone will be open an hour earlier.

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

The pilot will continue until the end of the calendar year, at which time the city will review the results.

The plan has already drawn opposition from residents inside the initial 16-streets.

Hoa, owner of a book store on Dinh Le Street said: “My business has been hurt. Revenue from book sales hovers between a third and a tenth of what it once was. I've started selling toys and painting statues for kids to offset my losses.”

Another business owner on Hang Khay Street said: “The pedestrian zone should only go into effect on Saturday and Sunday evenings because residents here have to make a living,”

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