Saigon looks underground to solve chronic congestion

By Trung Son   March 24, 2017 | 04:00 am PT
Saigon looks underground to solve chronic congestion
An artist impression for the underground subway station near Ben Thanh Market. Photo courtesy of the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railways Authority
The city aims to open at least one underground parking lot this year.

Ho Chi Minh City is working on plans for underground development across the city, which will involve public projects such as parking lots and subway stations.

The city’s Department of Urban Planning and Architecture has been ordered to submit a proposal to the prime minister for review next month.

Details have not been discussed but the plan is believed to include a number of underground parking lots. The city aims to complete at least one of them this year.

Investors of private buildings will be encouraged to connect their underground spaces to the public spaces developed by the city, it said.

As the most crowded city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is home to nearly 13 million people, including migrants. By the end of last year, vehicles in the city had increased to 8.5 million, including more than 600,000 cars, according to official figures.

Travelers are being caught up in heavier and more regular congestion. Public buses in December reported that the average travel speed in the city had slowed to only 18 kilometers per hour.

The city also faces a severe lack of parking space, and this has been exacerbated by the ongoing sidewalk campaign that has banned parking on roadways and sidewalks.

Authorities in the city approved a plan back in 2012 for underground development in District 1, which includes roads, parking lots, bus stations and shopping malls under Le Loi, Nguyen Hue and Ton Duc Thang streets, around Ben Thanh Market and at Me Linh Point near the Opera House.

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