Blocking off sidewalks does not benefit pedestrians

By Viet Thanh   April 30, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
Blocking off sidewalks does not benefit pedestrians
A sidewalk section in Hanoi's Tay Ho District is blocked. Photo by VnExpress
There are many ways to prevent sidewalks from being occupied, but blocking them and pushing pedestrians off is not the right way to go.

After authorities no longer patrol the streets as often following the sidewalk cleanup campaign in Hanoi, several pavements have been occupied once again.

And what’s more: when buildings and organizations erected barriers and other obstacles to prevent vehicles from taking up space, they also unwittingly drove pedestrians off into the streets.

VnExpress readers weigh in on such measures and their impacts.

"Taking up space on the sidewalks is wrong. But erecting barriers is no less wrong, and may be even worse. There are already regulations prohibiting the occupation of sidewalks, so just fine any vehicles that violate them. We can't keep erecting barriers and fences like this."
Mua dong

"We need to look at the main cause as to why people park their vehicles on the sidewalk. In my opinion, I believe it's because of bad traffic and force of habit. If it's due to traffic jams, we need to improve traffic infrastructure, invest in roads, public transport and urban planning... If it's because of bad habits, such actions need to be heavily fined. Authorities also need to encourage people to use public transport by improving its quality as well, including its convenience, safety and pricing schemes. Looking at all the barriers and fences from the other side, I believe they are not only ugly, but also unsustainable."
Josie Nguyen

"Why don't we use signs to forbid vehicles from parking on sidewalks? Why don't authorities take pictures of vehicles that violate rules and fine their owners? Of course, it's hard to manage all the motorbikes, but if we can do it consistently for a long period of time, we will be able to change people's minds. Erecting barriers, however, makes streets ugly, and may even put pedestrians in danger."
Manh Hung

"Taking back the sidewalks and returning the space to pedestrians is the authorities’ job. The fact that irrelevant entities erect fences and place cement blocks themselves to keep the sidewalks occupied for their own use is totally wrong. I hope authorities will intervene soon to return the pavements to the people. There are many ways to prevent sidewalks from being occupied, but definitely not like this."
Vu Tuan Hiep

"Previously, we were not tough enough, so taking back the sidewalks for pedestrians now is not easy. The fact that sidewalks are being occupied for businesses is an issue, and the fact that motorbikes are willing to climb over the pavements during rush hour is a consequence of an overburdened, uncoordinated traffic infrastructure. Erecting barriers now is a bad idea, as it does nothing to help pedestrians."

"Installing cameras and surveillance stations is the most practical solution. We need to think of ways to modernize fining violations... So right now, we need to design software and install cameras so they can be the basis for fining all vehicles that encroach on the sidewalks. Whenever there's information and images recorded by surveillance cameras, the software could issue tickets and fine the drivers. While fines may not be collected immediately that way, once plate and license numbers are recorded in the system, traffic police can fine drivers at routine road stops. I don't think this would be too difficult to do in our country."
Dejarino Zhino

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
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