HA NOI (VNS) — A Ha Noi Transport Department official denied a report in Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper that the department wasted VND24 billion (US$120,000) on removing concrete dividers from streets.
Nguyen Xuan Tan, the department's vice director, affirmed that all the median strips would be used again on other streets.
"The removed median strips will be prioritised for use on streets that are crowded and are wide enough to install them," Tan said, adding that the use of median strips was one of the city's seven solutions to traffic congestion and that its positive impact had been recognised by the Government and the National Traffic Safety Committee.
Tan also said that median strips played a role in shaping the public's driving habits. Before 2010 when median strips were built on Hue, Hang Bai and Ba Trieu streets, traffic congestion and fatal traffic accidents were reported annually, but none were seen after that, he said.
Tan went further to say on the online newspaper Vnexpress: "Because the people's awareness of traffic law compliance increased after the installation of median strips on some streets, the Department has replaced them with painted lines and safety signboards."
Tan affirmed that median strips would continue to be used until traffic improved: "We won't quit halfway."
However, Vnexpress correspondents visited rush hour hot spots like Xa Dan and Giai Phong streets, where the median strip had been removed, only to find out that drivers' behaviour had not improved at all. To the contrary, even more people crossed the dividing line into the other road lane than before.
Urban transport specialist Nguyen Xuan Thuy told Infornet that the use of median strips manifested the short vision, lack of professionalism and irrationality when it came to solving traffic congestion in Ha Noi.
"While the press has repeatedly pointed out that streets are currently too narrow for median strips, they still insist on building them. This is a waste of the people's money," Thuy said. — VNS