Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – Around 50 per cent of HCM City’s 22 pedestrian bridges are underused because of inconvenient locations and the typical habits of local residents, according to a report by Người Lao Động (Labourer) newspaper.
Pedestrian bridges or footbridges have been built near hospitals, parks and big roads, and only eight are used regularly while others on Phạm Văn Đồng and Võ Văn Kiệt streets have been abandoned by locals, the city’s Department of Transportation said.
Many pedestrians risk their lives by crossing busy streets even though pedestrian bridges are located nearby.
Busy areas with footbridges include areas close to the HCM City Oncology Hospital on Nơ Trang Long Street in Bình Thạnh District, Từ Dũ Hospital on Cống Quỳnh Street in District 1, and Bình Dân Hospital on Điện Biên Phủ Street in District 3.
“The bridge’s stairs are too steep and slippery. It’s inconvenient for the elderly and disabled,” Nguyễn Thanh Trang from Bình Thạnh District told the newspaper.
She said that many people gather at the pedestrian bridge outside the Oncology Hospital at night, and that demand for pedestrian bridges on other streets was high but no bridge had been built at those locations.
Hà Ngọc Trường, vice chairman of the HCM City Association of Bridges, Roads, and Ports, said many areas have footbridges but others have none.
He said that authorities should take into consideration the real demand for such bridges even outside schools and hospitals, and design bridges suited to each place. For instance, bridges should be built so they connect to the inside of the hospital.
Phạm Sanh, a traffic expert, agreed that lack of research had led to poor decisions on where to install bridges.
In addition to plans that could encourage locals to use footbridges, he said that bridges should be built in areas with a dense population or near busy malls and entertainment venues.
“The elderly and disabled should be able to use bridges, too!” he said, adding that regular bridge maintenance should also be considered.
The city’s Department of Transport said that bridge quality had been upgraded, with some being roofed and beautifully designed to attract locals at more sparsely populated areas like Võ Văn Kiệt and Phạm Văn Đồng streets.
The department plans to enhance convenience and add connections by installing bus stops and street separators near pedestrian bridges.
Authorities also plan to improve security at pedestrian bridges, according to the department. – VNS