Hanoi relaunches sidewalk cleanup campaign

By Vo Hai   March 4, 2023 | 05:00 am PT
Hanoi relaunches sidewalk cleanup campaign
Two foreigners cannot walk on the sidewalks due to parked motorbikes in Hanoi, February 22, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu
Hanoi authorities plan to re-establish "sidewalk order" this month by removing obstacles like billboards and sunshades that encroach on streets; resistance will be met with forced removal.

The Hanoi People's Committee on Friday said the plan will be carried out in three phases.

The first phase, which was already completed on Feb. 28, informs and encourages people to abide by policies and restore streets and sidewalks to their original state.

During the second phase, which will be carried out until the end of this month, the authorities will perform inspections and will deal with violations regarding urban and public order, including responding to behaviors that encroach upon streets and sidewalks for different purposes, such as selling things or parking vehicles.

The third phase, to be implemented until Nov. 1, involves authorities patrolling areas to ensure violations do not occur again.

Those who resist the new policy will have their possessions, which are deemed as obstacles on the streets, removed and seized.

In several Hanoi districts, spaces on the streets and sidewalks are often encroached upon by people running businesses or using the areas as parking lots. Le Hong Son, deputy chairman of Hanoi, said despite numerous measures to establish order on the sidewalks and the streets, the results of such measures have not been sustainable.

Son has requested districts to analyze the relationship between urban order and socio-economic development, adding that there is an inverse correlation between maintaining urban order and the development of a night time economy. Authorities need to make sure that both urban aesthetics and the rights for people to make a living are ensured, he added.

Hanoi launched a sidewalk cleanup campaign in 2017 to make room on the sidewalks for pedestrians. Despite positive results at the time, the sidewalks were once again gradually occupied by parking lots, shops and food stalls.

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